Local restaurant industry worries about tax hike - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Local restaurant industry worries about tax hike

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Maggie Stubbs has been a fixture in the local restaurant industry for decades, But she remembers the last time the city added a prepared food and beverage tax like it was yesterday.

"We had to start paying the 1%," she says. "We were under the impression that it was a temporary tax to build Erikson Stadium. Well, Erikson Stadium's been built a long time."

And that one percent tax – well, you're still paying it every time you go out to eat.  Very soon, though, you could be paying more.  City officials want to double the prepared food and beverage tax in order to pay for $144 million in Bank of America Stadium improvements.  

"I mean, how much can we put on our customers?" Stubbs asks. "We're just a Mom and Pop business. Taxes are just going up. Prices of food are going up. I don't like it."

Today, Stubbs owns a popular spot in Plaza Midwood called Dish.  But if that 1% tax turns to 2%, experts say even popular restaurants may lose business.

"I always worry when they raise taxes, will that affect our flow," says Stubbs. "We have to turn a lot of customers to keep this place going."

That's why the restaurant industry is asking city officials to slow down and reconsider their plans. Right now, their proposal targets just one sector of the business community.

"The stadium benefits the whole town, but we're the ones who are going to be paying for the taxes," Stubbs says.

And she isn't the only one worried about how long the tax will stick around.

"I'd like to know what their true intentions are in the long-term," says Dish patron Renald Fenton. "I totally understand where the money's going to in terms of the renovation of the stadium, and there's a finite number associated with that. But what happens after the renovations have taken place? Does that tax get rescinded?"

The city has proposed that the tax hike last for 30 years. Over that time, it would likely raise more than the $144 million needed for stadium upgrades.

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