April 21, 2022 | News

New sales tax study completed

Writer: Gordon Jackson

Published April 21, 2022
Yahoo! news from The Brunswick News

A new study estimates anywhere from 37% to 43% of sales tax generated in the Golden Isles comes from people living in other communities.

The results of the study were announced by Ralph Staffins, president and CEO of the Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce, at Wednesday's board meeting.

Information from the study, conducted by the University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute, will be used as part of a promotion campaign to persuade voters to approve a referendum for a new Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax in the November general election.

"There is a lot of money left on the table because SPLOST was not passed," said Mike Scherneck, chamber chairman.

Staffins said an online survey about the wants and needs of the community is getting a strong response. The results will help stakeholders determine the projects most likely to get strong public support when the SPLOST referendum vote is held.

"We want opinions from every place," Staffins said, urging chamber members to ask their employees to participate in the online survey to get a wide variety of participants.

Lonnie Roberts, president of Coastal Pines Technical College, said $2.9 million in funding for the planning and design of a new laboratory building at the Brunswick campus remains in the state budget awaiting the governor's signature.

"Right now, it's in the governor's hands," Roberts said. "There's not much else to do until the budget is signed into law."

While there is no guarantee the governor won't cut some items from the budget, including funding for the building design, Staffins said he remains "cautiously optimistic" it will be approved.

"We're still working hard on it," he said.

Tourism in the Golden Isles continues to set new records, said Scott McQuade, president and CEO of the Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau. Occupancy for the month of February is 30% ahead of the same month a year ago and bed tax collection is 55% ahead of last year's record.

McQuade said the Golden Isles is on pace to see $500 million in lodging revenue this year.

College of Coastal Georgia will be opening the Art and Lindee Lucas Center for Entrepreneurship to help students become business owners. Ande Noktes, the center's executive director, said the program will help teach students the skills and knowledge to become an entrepreneur. Students can still major in the degree of their choice, but they will have an opportunity to learn the business side of their chosen profession, Noktes said. There will also be grant funds available.

The college is also seeking business leaders willing to be mentors to students.