Public should voice opinion on new tax

Published 12:01 am Thursday, February 14, 2008

Something curious happened at Tuesday’s Natchez Board of Alderman meeting — a game of hot potato was postponed.

With a tourism tax on the table for discussion, the board delayed the matter, calling a special meeting next Wednesday.

The delay, aldermen said Tuesday, was because Natchez Mayor Phillip West and Alderman David Massey were absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

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We’re not really certain why the discussion had to be delayed because of their absences. Massey is only one of six with a vote and West only casts a vote in the case of a tiebreaker.

But, perhaps, the delay gives us all a chance to examine the tax proposal further and a great chance to make your opinion be heard.

So far, proponents and opponents seem few and far between.

On one hand, a few tourism officials say the extra tax money is critical to market the city.

On the other hand, a handful of citizens are crying foul because part of the tax proposal would be applied to restaurants — which cater to both tourists and locals alike.

Where is the community and civic leadership on the issue?

We’ve seen little in the way of public support or public outcry about the issue beyond the usual suspects.

Our city leaders need to know what the public is thinking on the issue so they can make a decision that represents the beliefs of constituency.

We urge citizens and businesspeople to contact their city representatives and, if possible, attend next Wednesday’s meeting to let their voices be heard.

Like the proverbial “gift horse” a delayed hot potato should not be looked in the mouth.