The city of New Albany has agreed to ask the Mississippi Legislature to allow city voters to make their own decision on the sale of wine and spirits in the city.
The Board of Aldermen wants the legislature to permit cities around the state to conduct elections on the issue. Current law requires that the election be conducted countywide even though sales only would be permitted in the city.
The city of Corinth has made a similar request of the legislature.
New Albany voters twice in the past three years have approved the sale of wine and spirits, but have had their wishes thwarted by county voters who have voted down the proposal.
We agree with the city of New Albany that city voters should make this decision, not people who live outside the city who do not pay city taxes or for the upkeep of city services.
National restaurant chains such as Applebee’s, Chili’s, Ruby Tuesday, Longhorn Steakhouse and others generally do not locate in cities that do not allow a glass or wine or a cocktail to be served with dinner. Upscale hotels, such as Hilton Garden Inns and the like, that have restaurants associated with them, also tend to shy away.
Restaurants contribute substantial tax revenue, both in sales tax and the tourism tax, and it’s important to be in a position to recruit them. We need this money to help pay for city services.
This is a business decision about whether the city is going to grow or wither. Our legislators, Sen. Nickey Browning and Rep. Margaret Ellis Rogers, need to get on board with this proposal and help push it through the legislature.