Taxing in a Down Economy

Town Council is proposing a 2% Hospitality Tax. They estimate it would generate $440,000 a year. Business owners say every cent counts, while city officials say it's small change that could make a huge difference.

Michael Galloway spends most of his days crunching numbers. He owns a Kentucky Friend Chicken restaurant in Camden. Last month Galloway dealt with the minimum wage increase. Now he says his livelihood is at risk because of the proposed 2% Hospitality Tax increase. It doesn't add up for Galloway.

"People are struggling now," said Galloway. "My employee are struggling too. It's a bad time to do it."

Camden's Mayor, Jeffrey Graham, says there's never a good time to raise taxes. But he's hopeful this tax will gain some momentum.

"It is tough times," said Mayor Graham. "But if you look at it and the amount of change we are talking about, it will make a huge difference that we wouldn't be able to see for five to 10 years in any other way."

The tax would affect food and drinks. Mayor Graham hopes the revenue will pour in with tourists. But Galloway says locals will also feel the pinch and he's fearful the fizzling economy will go flat.

"People only have so much money to spend," said Galloway. "And these are the people that they are targeting."

Graham says its a small change that could generate big benefits down the road.

"We do have to look towards the history and heritage of this community, which makes us strong and special," said Mayor Graham. "But we also have to look towards the future."

"You say a few cents here and a few cents there, it adds up," said Galloway.

And in Galloway's estimation, it adds up to less money in his pocket.

The City Council will meet Tuesday morning to decide the Hospitality Tax. If it passes it could go into affect as early as December.