Eating in Newport could soon cost you more

By Alana Cerrone

acerrone@Abc6.com

@Alana_Cerrone

The Mayor of Newport is backing a bill which would put an additional 1% tax on the state’s already-existing 7% tax on any food and beverage sold in Newport and Middletown.

Jamey Simoes has dealt with loud construction outside his Corner Café on Broadway in Newport for four years. So news of a potential increase in tax for his customers wasn’t welcome.

"We’ve lost business every summer for the 4th consecutive year due to the construction so any increase in the taxes…we wouldn’t look upon that favorably at all."

But a new bill proposes to raise the food and beverage tax to 8% just in Newport and Middletown, so the cities collect an extra percentage of the tax.

Mayor Jeanne-Marie Napolitano says because so many tourists come through the city every year, they should share in the costs of city improvements.

"The fiscal reality is locally they’re being asked to do a lot to accommodate all the people that come here…it’s very common practice in communities and particularly resort areas."

The extra funds would go towards sewer repairs and road repairs, like the ones on Broadway.

Some residents say it’s worth it.

"I mean look at the roads right now…they’re not good…"

Others aren’t buying it.

"I’m a Newport native and they’re only doing it for the tourists."

The bill now has to go to Senate Finance to be approved.

© WLNE-TV 2016