Meals Tax Could Get Back on Table for Fairfax County

Tuna Tartare at Vinifera/Credit: ViniferaAt the suggestion of Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill), the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will be taking another look at instituting a meals tax.

Hudgins made the motion after a sometimes emotional supervisors meeting on Tuesday, where the board passed an advertised 2017 tax rate rise of 4 cents. Some supervisors advocated for a higher maximum tax rate of 5 or 6 cents per $100 of real estate value.

The motions for those rates did not pass, with some supervisors, including Hudgins, saying they did not feel right raising taxes that high when many county residents, particularly senior citizens on a fixed income, could not afford that large an increase.

But with the Fairfax County Public Schools facing a $68 million budget gap and potential cuts and with the county’s $3.99 billion budget feeling strain, some officials say more money has got to come from somewhere.

Hudgins said a 4-percent meals tax, similar to rates in nearby jurisdictions such as Vienna, Fairfax City, Arlington County and Alexandria, would provide $90 million in annual revenue.

“You can’t keep services up if you are always trying to juggle this one revenue source [real estate taxes] up and down,” said Hudgins. “You can’t rely on one revenue source and be sure it gets to where you want to be.”

A meals tax for Fairfax was last discussed in 2014, when Sharon Bulova, Chair of the Board of Supervisors, established a task force to look into the possibility. 

The task force came back with some pros and cons of a meals tax, but ultimately decided not to move forward with the next step, a voter referendum on the issue.

The last time the question was put to Fairfax County voters was 1992. It failed.

While the supervisors unanimously approved the motion to get an update of the 2014 meals tax report, many made it clear they do not support actual passage of a meals tax.

Pay Herrity (R-Springfield), who said he opposes the tax, reminded the board that even if the meals tax could be put to voters for a referendum this fall, it would not help the 2017 budget.

Penny Gross (D-Mason) said “a lot has changed since 2014. The community is ready for a discussion now.”

Jeff McKay (D-Lee) said he would need reassurance that 100 percent of meals tax revenue would stay in Northern Virginia, and that Richmond lawmakers would not see the additional revenue as a reason to cut back contributions to Fairfax County coffers.

Tuna tartare at restaurants like Vinifera could cost more if Fairfax County gets a meals tax/file photo

Recent Stories

A new CBD boutique is coming soon to Lake Anne Plaza (staff photo by Angela Woolsey) A CBD boutique is coming soon to Reston’s Lake Anne Plaza. OmBaked is expected…

Live Fairfax is a bi-weekly column exploring Fairfax County. This recurring column is sponsored and written by Sharmane Medaris of McEnearney Associates. Questions? Reach Sharmane at 813-504-4479. Are you an inspired foodie like…

The clock is ticking for Fairfax County and the D.C. region to adopt a new transportation plan aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This past June, the National Capital Region…

The Reston Town Center pavilion reopened in November after undergoing renovations (staff photo by Jay Westcott) Intricate ice sculptures are coming to Reston Town Center’s outdoor skating rink at the…

The Ravel Dance Studio will re-open for fall classes 2020. The school will offer in person and virtual online instruction. With over 5000 sq. ft. to social distance the school has added air ionization filtration systems, ballet barres, acrylic dividers, hands free bathrooms, strict monitoring and more.

The Ravel Dance Studio will produce a Nutcracker Ballet Hollywood style video through the Reston Community CenterStage. REGISTRATION online begins August 17.

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

Chris Green is one of the DMV’s finest fitness instructors. A Lululemon and South Block ambassador, he is a coach and mentor to so many. He embodies grace, positivity and motivation in ways that no one else can. If we could all learn a thing or two from him, the world would be a much better place. He does so much for others, and does so with a smile on his face 99% of the time.

He recently ruptured his Achilles and has an incredibly long and tough journey ahead. As if COVID hadn’t impacted fitness professionals enough, throw this in the mix and it’s a double, even triple whammy. CG is no longer able to work and do what he loves for the time being because of this and we’d love your support.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.


Subscribe to our mailing list