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    Convenience Food Customers Taxed

    S.C. county looks to foodservice to boost coffers.

    ROCK HILL, S.C. -- Convenience store customers in York County, S.C. could soon pay additional tax on food, according to the Rock Hill, S.C. Herald newspaper.

    The Rock Hill/York County Convention & Visitors Bureau plans to ask the County Council to consider endorsing a countywide hospitality tax that could help boost the bureau's waning budget. While an amount has not yet been proposed, if it's approved, the added tax could apply to fast-food restaurants, dine-in eateries, convenience stores, movie theaters and grocery store deli counters, according to the news source.

    State law requires the special tax to be no more than 2 percent and the money generated from it to be used for tourism-related projects only. The law also gives local lawmakers the right to decide if the hospitality tax would apply to all restaurants or just those that serve alcohol, said York County Manager Al Greene.

    County officials would be prohibited from implementing the tax in Rock Hill and York because those two municipalities already have a 2 percent hospitality tax, Greene said. If the proposal passes, the businesses that would be affected include those in the unincorporated areas of the county and the incorporated areas in Fort Mill, Clover and Tega Cay, the Herald reported.

    But unless county officials get permission from Fort Mill, Clover and Tega Cay leaders for a 2 percent levy, the hospitality tax could only be assessed at 1 percent, Greene said. The unincorporated areas would be assessed at 2 percent.

    Bennish Brown, executive director of the Rock Hill/York County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said he is not insensitive to the fact that "raising taxes is an emotional issue." But Brown noted the hospitality tax could help the visitors' bureau secure a more stable source of money.

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