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Tax reprieve's effects unclear

By By ROBBIE BYRD
News Editor
Even with a 3 percent sales tax reprieve for the city of Atmore, business owners are not so sure that the tax "holiday" helped to spike sales.
Mark Booth, manager of B.C. Moore's, said that while the break was a good idea, there is not sufficient evidence to say it spiked holiday sales.
Edith Beans, owner of The Beans Store on South Main Street had the same reaction to the tax break.
While Beans said her customer traffic was about the same as last year, she said she had more customers from outside the city.
Both Beans and Booth said they thought the tax break was a good idea, regardless of how much it has affected their revenues thus far.
Booth said, "I think it was a great idea, and believe it has helped some."
Mayor Howard Shell said that the tax break was put in place for the month of December to alleviate some of the economic woes from recent layoffs at Vanity Fair, Southern Aluminum and J-Mar Trucking.
After several discussions about a city sales tax free weekend or week, Shell suggested a month long plan.
Shell said that the program, which has received national recognition, is the first of its kind in the state.
Business owners agree that the program is definitely one of a kind.
The tax break is not without its effects, however. The city plans to lose a quarter million dollars for this month alone, Shell said. However, he doesn't expect the loss of revenue to drastically affect the city.
Beans said she is worried about the economic problems the city could face following December's loss of revenue.
Booth also said that he was concerned about the city's economic future.
Shell said he is confident that the city will be able to pull through.