As described in the post below, the Democrat-controlled Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has put a meals tax referendum on the ballot in November. The Fairfax County GOP has put together 10 key facts about the meals tax. Please spread the word. The question will likely be towards the bottom of the ballot, and Democrats are hoping to pass it quietly.
Remember, this tax would be imposed on everyone eating at a restaurant in Fairfax County, regardless of where you live, so send these out to your family, friends, and neighbors in Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, and across Northern Virginia.
Fast Facts on the Meals Tax Referendum
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved a ballot measure for a new 4% tax on all restaurant meals and prepared food sold in Fairfax County. The Fairfax County Republican Committee opposes the proposed tax, and we urge Fairfax County voters to vote NO on November 8. Here are some key facts about the proposed tax:
• The meals tax would be in addition to the existing 6% sales tax, for a total tax of 10%. This will nearly double the tax County residents currently pay on prepared foods.
• The new tax would be added to every purchase at every kind of restaurant, even fast food and convenience stores. Prepared food items such as rotisserie chickens purchased in a grocery store and hot dogs bought at a convenience store also will be taxed at the new 10% rate.
• Studies have shown that the burden for the increased tax will fall hardest on the most vulnerable people in the County, especially low-income families, senior citizens, young people, and busy families where both parents work.
• Restaurant employees will be hit as well, particularly those who depend on tips for most of their income. A study by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington showed that customers often tip less to make up for the tax, so restaurant employees end up with less income.
• You may hear that some of the anticipated revenues from the tax are to be spent on the public schools. But this is a sham: the Board of Supervisors must still decide every year how much money to give to the School Board, and the Supervisors are not legally bound to increase the school budget by the amount the meals tax brings in. If the voters approve the referendum, our taxes will go up – but school spending may not.
• Even if the School Board gets more funding, there is no guarantee that it will be spent directly on teacher salaries or children’s education, or that every school in the County will benefit from the increased funding. We are all being asked to sign a blank check.
• The food services industry provides 40,000 jobs in Fairfax County. This tax will affect them all.
• Profit margins in the restaurant industry average just 4%: that’s the amount the business owner gets to keep. A 4% tax means the government wants 100% of restaurant profits.
• The restaurant industry is intensely competitive, and most restaurant operators are small business owners. Even small increases in costs or reductions in sales can force a restaurant out of business, and put people out of work.
• This is not a new idea. In 1992, the Board of Supervisors proposed the same tax, and voters said NO. In 2014, the Board brought it up again, but under pressure from residents and businesses, decided to wait. Now they are back, and now we need to vote it down.
Bottom Line: The tax will unfairly burden those who are the least able to pay it, and there is no guarantee that the money will be used for the purpose claimed by its proponents.