- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 23, 2019

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Voters in south Mississippi are deciding whether a city should raise its hotel and restaurant tax.

The referendum in Hattiesburg on Tuesday would raise the tax from 2% to 3%.

Mayor Toby Barker tells local news outlets the increase would generate at least an additional $1.2 million a year.

The money would pay for park improvements and let the city aid renovations to the University of Southern Mississippi’s Reed Green Coliseum. City officials say they hope the USM arena could host other events besides basketball games and commencements.

Barker says the added money would let the city use existing revenue for other purposes, including more road and drainage projects.

The referendum must get 60 percent of votes to pass. Taxes would increase on June 1 if the referendum is approved.

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