Bloomington Legislator’s Bill Would Create Food and Beverage Tax

A new bill moving through the state legislature could provide the money needed for an expansion of the Bloomington/Monroe County Convention Center.

State Rep. Peggy Welch’s (D-Bloomington) bill would impose a 1percent tax on retail food and beverages to fund the expansion project.

Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce president Christy Gillenwater said most local bar and restaurant owners are willing to accept the tax in exchange for an expanded convention center.

But she said local business owners have a number of other things on their minds right now, including “[C]oncern right now regarding the state of the economy, the fact that minimum wage was just increased, [and] the fact that we just incurred a one percent increase in sales tax last year.”

Gillenwater said coupling those concerns with a recession has some local business owners concerned about the proposed tax.

If the bill moves forward, Gillenwater said chamber members want to wait until January 1 of next year to put the tax into place. The proposed tax would raise an estimated $1.7 million a year.

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