Our esteemed colleague Lynn Bonner noted over at Under the Dome that Sen. Floyd McKissick resuscitated the 1 percent meals tax referendum bill today after it was all but dead a mere hour before.
It likely will be up for a vote tomorrow on the Senate floor, McKissick said, where approval of the embattled local bill is by no means assured.
McKissick told me the first finance committee vote today blocking the bill from a floor vote was taken with many committee members absent. McKissick nabbed more members and reconvened the finance committee. The second voice vote showed a clear majority in favor of letting the matter come before the entire Senate.
The bill would authorize a November referendum allowing Durham county voters to decide on a 1 percent tax on all prepared meals and beverages. It's met stiff resistance from the restaurant lobby, who say it unfairly targets them. Proponents desire the millions it would raise for cultural amenities, like the proposed Minor League Baseball museum and/or repairs to the Durham Civic Center.
McKissick said the floor vote likely will be close.
"There are people who are favorable to the bill that are not present today, and I don’t know if they’ll be present tomorrow," he said.
McKissick said the last few days of the legislative session are "chaotic."
"The biggest challenge around here is getting your votes in the room at the right times," he said.
"Sometimes you might just want to wait until somebody leaves."
He joked, "I might give a few people a cell phone call and tell them their house is on fire." When he stopped laughing, McKissick assured he would do no such thing and said, "God forbid that should occur."