The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Tax headed to Legislature

    As much as $200,000 a year could be headed toward Mississippi State University’s bank accounts-if the citizens of Starkville decide to vote in favor of renewing the current 2 percent food and beverage tax.
    The city’s Board of Aldermen recently reached a unanimous vote to reapportion the revenue from this tax, giving the university 20 percent of the income. Previously, Mississippi State was not allotted any of this revenue, Ward 2 Alderman Frank Davis said.
    “The administration will utilize these funds to help student-related activities,” said Melvin Ray, assistant to the president.
    These activities, he said, are those such as conferences, athletic events and an expansion of the shuttle system.
    The tax, which has been in effect for the last 10 years, expires in June 2005. In order for it to be renewed, the aldermen must agree on the apportionment of its revenue.
    Several steps remain before the issue goes to the voters. Mayor Mack Rutledge said that the aldermen must give their final approval by Mach 2. After that, the tax resolution and an accompanying bill will go to the state Legislature for approval.
    “This administration is pleased that the city’s fathers want to give us the opportunity to work with other parts of the city to make the university a destination place,” Ray said.
    Student Association President Josh Blades said, “(President) Charles Lee has promised me that a good portion of the money will be going toward student concerns.” He added that this makes the SA “really excited” about the tax.
    The board decided Feb. 17 to denote 40 percent to the Starkville Parks and Recreation Commission, 15 percent to the Convention and Visitors Bureau, 15 percent to the Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority and 10 percent to the city of Starkville. Twenty percent will go to the university. “Assuming it is successful from there,” the mayor said, “there will be a voter referendum in October or November of 2004.”
    “We are hopeful that it will be successful,” Rutledge said.
    Davis said that so far all feedback has been positive.
    For the past 10 years, the food and beverage tax has provided Starkville with funding for renovations and construction. The Sportsplex was built in 1999 and several parks in town have been renovated.
    The Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority and the city of Starkville were able to buy 200,000 acres of land on the Miss. Highway 25 bypass for the new Cornerstone Industrial Park.
    The Convention and Visitors Bureau has funded activities and student events as well as cultural events that attract visitors and entertain residents, Rutledge said.
    “We all realized something Lee said: ‘We need to strive to be good neighbors,’ ” Davis said.
    The city has been active in helping the students with their activities and the student body officials have been receptive of the town’s generosity.
    “This spurred the city’s fathers to see MSU as a good neighbor,” he said.

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    Tax headed to Legislature