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March 8, 2013

Amesbury weighing meals tax

Proposal would add 0.75 percent to restaurant tabs


It’s unclear what impact the potential new tax would have on local restaurants, which would be forced to charge their customers the additional fee.

Mayor Thatcher Kezer agreed with Scorzoni that if the tax were implemented, it should be dedicated to a specific purpose. He added that Scorzoni’s idea to put the new revenue through a local meals tax toward road and sidewalk repair was a good one and would definitely be considered.

Over the past few years, Kezer has dedicated $200,000 in free cash, or unspent tax dollars, to repair roads and sidewalks around the city. Scorzoni said the amount of revenue from a meals tax would be close to that amount, making it an ideal alternative over continued use of free cash.

Scorzoni said his revenue projections came from the state Department of Revenue, which tracks meals tax figures from around the state and provides data to local communities. According to the Department of Revenue, almost half of the 34 communities in Essex County currently have a local meals tax, including every city but Amesbury and Lynn. All those communities with local meals tax options have enacted rates of 0.75 percent.

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