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Southaven’s ‘Penny for Your Parks’ tax is causing quite a stir this year. In this post, I hope to shed some light onto the subject for you. If you live in Southaven, most especially, pay attention to this information.  

For awhile, there has been a ‘Penny for Your Parks’ tax in place on hotels and restaurants in Southaven. The tax on the restaurants has to be repealed every three years or so, meaning that it has to be approved and passed again in order to continue. The tax on the hotels does not. It has no repealer, so it will stay in place. The matter before the state legislature is whether or not to keep the tax on restaurants or do away with it. Here is where all of the controversy comes into play.

Our DeSoto County Representatives do not oppose the tax but feel that it should be put to a vote by the people in Southaven and placed on the ballot in this year’s municipal election primary. The Representatives feel that the voice of the people should make this decision as opposed to elected leaders pushing it through again automatically. The current legislation, if passed, would automatically renew the tax, whereas our Representatives want the bill to be amended. They want it to be left up to the citizens of Southaven to vote in June of this year.

On the other side of the fence are some city and state officials that want the legislature to go ahead and pass the renewal of this tax. Their thought process has been that the citizens of Southaven have already voted on this matter on two different occasions and in favor of the tax. Why vote on it for a third time when there seems to be more support for it than against it?  

Back to the Representatives, their thinking has been that the previous two votes were special election votes which did not garner any worthwhile turnout. Most special elections are only made known by ads in the paper and other not-so well publicized ways, meaning if you didn’t know where to look or when, you would not have known about it. The Representatives feel that a vote during this year’s municipal elections would be a much more accurate and fair way to determine the support or opposition of the tax. What do Southaven officials say about this viewpoint?

Publicly, the city’s mayor has expressed no opposition to a referendum vote by the citizens of Southaven. It seems that any push made to pass this without the referendum vote on their part is coming from the two previous votes. They feel that the citizens of Southaven have already spoken……..twice.

One more tidbit here is the bill authored by DeSoto Senator David Parker. His bill includes a reverse repealer giving Southaven citizens 60 days to come up with 1500 signatures to require a vote on this tax, and if citizens fail to come up with 1500 signatures in 60 days, the tax becomes permanent. Our DeSoto Representatives expressed concern over this way of handling it because the 1500 signatures required to get a referendum vote on this issue is double the amount of people that actually voted to support the tax originally. With over 50,000 citizens in Southaven, what is the best way to handle this matter?

Please know that I am simply giving you a simple analysis of the situation and am in no way trying to speak for either side. It should be known though that I have spoken directly to some of the people involved here. What I encourage you to do is read more about this issue for yourself. In fact, you can click on the links below to read more as published in news reports and straight from our elected officials. Afterward, comment below, Southaven, and share your feelings. To give you an example, a $100 restaurant bill would equal $1 of tax to go towards the ‘Penny for Your Parks’ program. Do you support or oppose this tax?

READ MORE BELOW.

Very detailed article on the issue from DeSoto Representative Dan Eubanks:

http://m.desototimes.com/opinion/columns_editorials/to-tax-or-not-to-tax/article_441c60a2-dc37-11e6-b2bb-335e58b1e6a4.html

Recent article on the status of the tax:

http://m.desototimes.com/news/senate-ok-s-southaven-tourism-tax/article_2e693f64-f3de-11e6-a108-d363968585e3.html

Article from the passing of the tax in 2014:

https://www.google.com/amp/wreg.com/2014/04/02/southaven-approves-new-penny-for-your-parks-plan/amp/

City of Southaven Document on the ‘Penny for Your Parks’ program:

https://www.southaven.org/DocumentCenter/View/5278

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