A bill calling for a November referendum on whether Durham County can collect a 1 percent tax on prepared meals and beverages passed its third reading in the House this afternoon, meaning it will now move to the Senate for consideration. The bill passed by a narrow 60-59 margin.*
It met stiff opposition from anti-tax groups, primarily Americans for Prosperity.
The matter had been a source of local controversy for years because Rep. Paul Luebke, D-Durham, opposed the tax on the grounds that he believed it would disproportionately impact the poor.
He finally relented earlier this year and agreed to join other local lawmakers in introducing a bill that would allow Durham County voters to decide if they want the tax.