JACKSONVILLE, Ore. -- A local man is proposing a five percent food and beverage tax as an alternative to the Police Protection Surcharge. Starting July 1, 2018 the surcharge will be added to Jacksonville homeowners utility bill to help fund the police department.
"The whole basis of this is to give people a choice," says Doug Philips, the Chief Petitioner of the Food and Beverage Tax.
Doug told NewsWatch12 he wants Jacksonville residents to be able to decide for themselves how the police department gets their funding. He says instead of a fixed surcharge every month, tourists and local businesses have a unique ability to help the city.
"As tourism goes up, and business goes up, the tax receipts will go up," says Phillips.
Local restaurants say this tax is isolating them, and forcing them to solely take on the task of funding something the entire community benefits from. Right now the Jefferson Farm Kitchen is displaying "No Meals Tax" cards.
"It puts restaurants more in the box and affects them instead of the rest of the community," says Laura Gaudioso, the Manager of Jefferson Farm Kitchen.
Today the Back Porch Bar & Grill told NewsWatch12 the proposed tax could push customers away, and punish people that are supporting local businesses.
"There are a lot of people that say they won't come to Jacksonville to eat," says Jamie Collins, the Co-Owner of the Back Porch Bar & Grill.
Doug says he understands the restaurant's responses to the tax. He says the current $20 surcharge is not sustainable, and he thinks it will eventually have to be raised.
As of right now the surcharge will start on July 1, 2018.
Doug Phillips is hoping to collect the necessary 366 signatures by July 1, 2018. If they are turned in and verified, the Food and Beverage Tax could be voted on in the November election.