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    Florence, S.C. Hospitality Tax Passed

    The 2 percent tax to affect retailers serving prepared food and beverages.

    FLORENCE, S.C. -- The Florence, S.C. City Council voted 6 to 1 in favor of implementing a 2 percent hospitality tax throughout the city raising the sales tax to 8 percent. The new fee will affect convenience and grocery stores as well as restaurants, caterers, ice cream shops and bakeries selling prepared foods and beverages.

    "Maybe the hospitality tax is not the best vehicle in the world," said Mayor Frank Willis. "I don't particularly like it either, but it's our only option."

    The new tax is expected to generate between $1.7 and $1.8 million, according to city officials. Tentatively, $900,000 is planned to fund the city's yearly debt service payment on the Civic Center as well as part of the facility's annual operating deficit, reported one city news source.

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