27°Partly Cloudy

Meals Tax Could Get Back on Table for Fairfax County

by Karen Goff March 2, 2016 at 2:45 pm 94 Comments

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

  • SouthRestonResident

    Well, I guess I won’t be going out as much. Instead of addressing the burro in the room, she’s decided to penalize the hard working legal us citizens. Instead of addressing the giant ESL problem, she’ll just tax me more.

    I wish the fire marshal would inspect my neighbors property. It’s a rental unit and hand to god there are 10+ people living in a 2 bedroom unit. And none of them speak a lick of english

    • HombreLogica

      You must be eating at some fancy restaurants that a 4 cent tax would break the bank. With all the money you’ll be saving by not eating out it would be right neighborly of you to consider taking some Spanish classes instead.

      • Concerned Grammarian

        Or maybe SouthRestonResident’s money could be spent on English lessons? His or her grammar is atrocious, especially for someone judging others for not being able English.

        • susie

          Judging? How is asking citizens (and i use that term loosely) to speak the nation’s language a negative to you? Perhaps if they would speak /learn English then we would’t be forced to fork over all our hard earned money for ESL classes for their children – and you KNOW they have lots of children.

          • AnimalLover

            ESL classes are how the future generations LEARN to speak English.

          • susie

            Yet another condescending comment from a liberal. Since when did it become the taxpayers responsibility to teach immigrants (and illegal aliens) to speak our language? And ESL is a joke. Most ESL teachers do not speak a foreign language – it is just another taxpayer expense to coddle the future democrat voters.

          • AnimalLover

            No, a knowledgeable comment from a teacher. You seem to think that these kids should not be taught English, but also need to know it? It’s confusing as to how you think these kids will learn the language. You imply you wish to deny the services they need to NOT be a drain on society, but also find fault with them when they don’t have the skills to do so? You can’t have it both ways.

            Many, though I won’t say all, ESL teachers do know a foreign language. The point is, though, that they need to communicate in English and not default to a student’s native language. Not all ESL students speak the same language. The skills they apply need to transfer to all students.

          • susie

            Well teacher to teacher – I had a nonEnglish speaking, behaviorally challenged student in my classroom. Mom (no dad of course) did not speak English either. I asked one of our many ESL teachers for help on how to reach him. I got the deer in the headlights look from her. She had no clue. I didn’t want to embarrass her so I threw out suggestions and she said yeah, that sounds great. End of meeting.

          • susie

            It’s not confusing. American legal citizens have no trouble passing and learning “English”.

          • John Higgins

            Your question was probably rhetorical, but if not, the answer is: since 1965. The fact that the presidency and the Congress, having been controlled at various time by both parties, have kept the mandate suggests consensus (except at the extreme) by the American voters. Isn’t democracy annoying?

          • susie

            Yes, that law says we are obligated to educate them. Where in the law does it say they get special services paid for by the taxpayers?

          • John Higgins

            There’s an old adage, if you try to teach a pig to dance all you will do is get covered in mud and piss off the pig. Rather than trying to explain the absurdity of teaching in a language students don’t understand, I’ll merely suggest you Google the EDEA (Johnson administration), the No Child Left Behind Act (Bush) and Lau v. Nichols (U.S. Supreme Court).

          • susie

            Why don’t you just come out and support open borders, John? Why not just say “I am a globalist, anti-nationalist, anti-American? Why hide behind all the rhetoric?

          • John Higgins

            I can’t come out in support of open borders because I think that is a stupid way for a sovereign nation to manage and protect itself.

            Not sure at what point I crossed over to your definition of an anti-nationalist, anti-American. I will retrace my steps and get back to you. It probably wasn’t during my military service or the 25 I served in CIA, across five continents.

            At risk of getting muddier, my tainted past taught me to gather facts before forming opinions. I have no idea what percentage of the school population are children of illegal immigrants, so that’s not my starting point. A huge percentage of the population are recent immigrants (??% legal) and among them over 100 different languages are spoken at home. That is an enormous problem.

            Unless and until that changes, there is a stream of kids required by law to be in school and you and I are required by law to offer them free education. Now, we can allow them to sit in class, fail, and pave their way to non-productive lives on the public dole – or we can spend your and my money to hopefully prevent that. Pay me now or pay me more later.

            We don’t have to like it. We don’t have to keep electing people who facilitate it. But in our own self-interest, we can’t just ignore it.

        • Say What?

          Not being able English?

      • Mike M

        Right. If he can afford to eat out then he owes more money to the County? Logic check? And what’s another 4 cents in two years? And then two years after that. After all, if you aren’t poverty stricken you need to pay and pay and pay! Right? And who cares if it’s spent well?

    • Chuck Morningwood

      Doesn’t Fairfax County have a housing enforcement unit? You might try calling them. If there really are that many people living in the unit, that would seem to be a code violation.

      • Trolly the Troll

        Pssst. I think he’s actually lying.

  • SouthRestonResident

    Wouldn’t we need Ken Plum to assure his lunch money isn’t stolen by Richmond Lawmakers? Guess we’re doomed

    • Mike M

      If he could tax them for the money they steal, we’d be better off. But he cannot. And in general, he cannot.

  • Mike M

    These clowns are insatiable. They will take everything they can take, one way or another. Recently re-elected, Cathy Hudgins is leading the charge!

    • SouthRestonResident

      If you give a mouse a cookie they demand a glass of milk. If you give a liberal a nickle they will demand a quarter. It’s all they understand. The section-8 don’t care because they don’t go out to eat or pay property tax. It’s just another squeeze on you & I

      • ESLTeacher

        ***You missed a few commas, and the correct phrasing there is you and me. For someone complaining about the language use of others…

        • AnimalLover

          And pronoun/antecedent agreement could use a little work too!

      • helpful troll

        Correct: “squeeze on me.
        Incorrect: “squeeze on I.”

  • Steve

    Not trying to give you a hard time–let others do that– but I couldn’t help but notice the “tax force” typo in this sentence below. Don’t fix it. Some people would say it fits what they are trying to do!

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

    • Karen Goff

      Ha! Fixed already. But yes, kind of funny 🙂

  • Greg

    Oh, the irony!

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

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Yeah, if we can’t get you on property tax, well, well take the food from your mouth. Way to represent your constituents, Hudgins.

  • Arielle in NoVA

    If Richmond isn’t going to send more of our property taxes back to our schools, then I feel a meals tax is acceptable. Locals and visitors would contribute, not just current local taxpayers. If people are worried about those less well off being unfairly hit by a meals tax, then have the base rate be higher for primarily sit-down restaurants (Glory Days & Outback to Morton’s, Ruth’s Chris, and nicer places) than for fast-food and quick-food options (McD’s, Subway, Chipotle, etc.). Add an additional penny or two per dollar to the rate when the average per-diner check is over $50.

    • letsbcivil2

      Right, because we want to further encourage and compel those less off to eat off the $2 menu at McDonalds.

      • Arielle in NoVA

        Good point, if you look at it that way – but putting a higher tax rate on fast food than on more leisurely dining would garner complaints about pricing those with less money out of the most affordable places. What rate scale do you suggest instead?

        • Mike M

          You social engineer so diligently. How about look at the nonsense on which they want to spend? How about, I spend enough on taxes already?

    • cosmo

      Yeah, it’s unfortunate the County doesn’t have many options but a meals tax is more fair than taxing homeowners as it hits tourists, people who live elsewhere but work in Fairfax County, etc. I wonder if there are other options, such as a lodging tax – I know some localities have them but I don’t know if it’s an option in good ol’ VA or not.

      • Arielle in NoVA

        I’ve paid a lodging tax enough times while traveling to think it’d be justified for us to have one for visitors.

        • Mike M

          Why spend so much that we aren’t willing to pay? Why impose a tax on people who aren’t driving up the costs and who don’t vote in our elections?

        • Greg

          The county already collects a lodging tax (and MANY more)

          Hotel and motel tax: 6% (2% for general transient occupancy tax, 2% for tourism, and 2% for regional transportation). Towns: 4%; this 4% comes to the county (2% for tourism and 2% for regional transportation). This is in addition to the taxes already levied by the towns: 6% in Herndon and 3% in Vienna).

          http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dta/tax_rates.htm#Occupancy_Tax

      • Mike M

        How about a breathing tax? How about a Master’s degree tax? How about a tax on people who use our airspace? There is no limit to the Social Engineering possibilities.

        But, wait? Could it be that the County live within it’s means without constantly reaching deeper into the pockets of citizens who already contribute the bulk of their funding?

        How about an OPTIONAL tax. You can pay.

    • Greg

      Property and sales taxes assessed in the county do not leave the county. It’s income tax that is not always fully returned.

      And, let’s not forget that both of those taxes have been raised in recent years — have you seen any benefits from either increase (resulting in hundreds of millions of extra dollars to NoVA each year)?

    • Mike M

      You are quite the social engineer. I happen to think I pay enough tax and the County ought to cut back a little. After all, that’s what you are asking me to do.

  • letsbcivil2

    Last week I read that Fairfax County residents are going to be charged $300 a year in property taxes to deal with the traffic generated by the buildup that is happening with metro expansion. (The irony is rich — we are paying to deal with increased traffic because of metro-related traffic.). Reston Association dues are now over $600 a year for services that the occupants of said build up will get to use for free. The toll road costs a fortune but so does metro to get downtown. And now this. Does the board of supervisors have no shame? The developers should be paying for this. They are making fortunes and we are paying for it. And where’s Kathy Hudgins? In their pocket. How much more can we get squeezed?

  • John Higgins

    I get dizzy reading the the contorted arguments, many of which eventually circle back to distain for immigrants, ESL, or Section 8. Is it asking too much for folks to occasionally focus on the issue without bending it to support their views on those subjects?

    I can’t think of a tax that I “like”. What makes the meals tax palatable (irresistible pun) is that it stays in the jurisdiction in which it is collected. And it is one of the few, perhaps the only, taxes that the General Assembly authorizes the county to levy without begging their leave.

    Finally, a meals tax has the unwashed visitors from outside the county paying a bit for our hospitality, apart from the sales tax that we have to share with the state.

    • JohnGaltMasterPlanner

      The reason people keep circling back to those items is because they are without a doubt the reason for the lack of funds. If you bring in a whole bunch of people that require more resources than they provide via taxation, you’re left with a deficit that needs to be addressed.

      I’m sorry it hurts your feelings or makes you uncomfortable but the fact of the matter is illegal immigration is a plight on the county

      • John Higgins

        JGMP, I gave no doubt that illegal residents are a burden. Legal residents who do not speak English with proficiency are a burden. Students with learning disabilities are a burden. Students with disruptive behaviors are a burden. Gifted students who require advanced instruction are a burden. Administrators who deliver Ferrari services in a Ford economy are a burden. I get it.

        No apology needed for hurt feelings. I have none. Most would say I am too insensitive. My whine is that there is an unmistakable vein of bigotry – or plain ignorance – that distracts from realistic solutions. I fault every level of government for allowing and even fostering an influx of non-contributory residents. That needs to be fixed. In the meantime we have a reality to address; I’d prefer to hear practical solutions rather than mere carping.

        Thanks for taking the time to comment and advancing the discussion.

        • susie

          What? What “unmistakable vein of bigotry?” The realistic solution is to elect a representative who will hold Sanctuary counties such as Fairfax responsible for refusing to enforce our immigration laws. And lumping gifted students in with illegal “residents” is ludicrous.

        • Mike M

          Cut spending. Get it?

        • Greg

          You DON’T get it. The county needs to cut more and cut deeper instead of always taking more of our money. There are too many things that the county tries to do, most of them not particularly well, and far too many of them with gold plating that is not necessary.

          If approved, the county’s advertised tax rate of $1.13 represents a 26% tax increase over the last five years. That is TOO much.

          Why, for example, is the school system so separate from the county? Administration, finance, HR, legal, construction, facilities management and transportation are all common functions that do not require redundant and separate costly systems.

          Why does the library throw out brand new books, but pay its director nearly $200,000 a year? S/he is incompetent if that sort of waste is tolerated at such an outrageously high salary.

          Why do we have separate structures and management for rec centers and libraries and government centers?

          We have at least four separate transportation systems in Fairfax County? Why? Why do we need so many (or any) school buses when Metro, Connector and Ribs buses run nearly empty most of the day?

          There’s gobs of money that can be cut from the budget with little negative effect and, more than likely, better service and use of existing resources.

          • John Higgins

            Thanks, Greg. You just proved my supposition that if people focus on solutions rather than just clucking and hissing, something might actually be accomplished.

            There is considerable merit to the ideas you advance. The existing separate management structures of the county and FCPS should not be surprising as they are separate legal entities, each governed by separately elected boards. That said, there are many opportunities to share resources and achieve efficiencies: the county services and maintains school buses through their central vehicle services department; core (and expensive) financial management software is shared; they partner in obtaining insurance coverage for multiple risks. On the other hand, there are far too many lost opportunities for shared efficiencies. Why? Someone doesn’t want to give up control. Perhaps if the county and school boards truly listened to questions like yours, that might change.

            FYI, the Park Authority, the Library, the EDA, and the Sewer Authority are also legally separate entities, but they do not have their own administrative mechanisms…all are supported by county departments.

            Love your ideas/questions, keep it up.

          • Mike M

            “Now that we have run out of money we have to think.”
            W. Churchill

            How about we cut off their money and see how smart they get. Endless subsidy of a system dependent upon endless subsidy is very close to the definition of insanity.

            I don’t owe the county management consulting. They owe me new ideas.

            PS: I also don’t need to accommodate every illegal that can get here. That is logically not realistic. If they don’t want to learn English, why are we throwing money at them? If they do, they will find a way.

    • Mike M

      Is it asking too much to ask folks not to imply that if you disagree with them they must be racist or classist? That behavior is itself classist and/or racist.

    • Cassie

      These are the most important reasons I think to support a meals tax in Fairfax County. We would be getting other jurisdictions to pay our taxes and all the money collected would stay in the county. The meals tax study stated that about 1/3 of the meals tax would be paid by out of county residents. We would also be getting diversified taxation bringing the real estate tax rate more in line with neighboring counties.

  • suburbancorrespondnt

    What does a 4 cent meal tax mean? Do they mean a 4% meal tax?

    • Karen Goff

      It’s 4 percent. Sorry about that.

  • TBird73

    It’s a self imposed tax that is quite optional, unlike property tax. Put it to a vote and shut up already. If people vote for it, then so be it. If they don’t then stick it back in the hole it crawled out of for another 20 years.

    • Mike M

      So, if I put a twelve cent tax on your gasoline purchases, that’s optional. Nah, that’s disingenuous. Your choice to drive and whatever I’d do with that money are in no way related. I prefer to contribute to the restaurant industry and NOT buy the things you’d like to buy with my money.

      • TBird73

        What the huh? First of all, I did not say I supported it in any way, Einstein. Second, who said anything about gasoline??? Do you buy gas at a restaurant? It’s a meals tax genius, not a gas tax. Now what I did say, if you cared to actually have any reading comprehension skills, was that I am tired of the political theater and the public should decide. You and I don’t like it, we don’t vote for it. Others will. Count it up and there’s your answer. It’s called a democracy. You are familiar with the concept, yes? Don’t like it? Too bad.

        • RoadApples

          Curious question: Do we live in a Democracy or a Republic?

          • Greg

            Something about “…the republic for which is stands…” comes to mind.

          • TBird73

            Oh look, a troll who thinks he’s witty. It’s a Democratic Republic, derp. If you have a problem understanding what that means, talk to a 9th grader.

          • RoadApples

            I asked a serious and curious question. Consequently from you; I get a rude child like punkette response.
            I sincerly suggest some Mental Therapy for yiu to help combat your insecure and aggressive behavior before you might hurt yourself

          • TBird73

            Oh look, the troll acts butthurt. Boy, that’s not predictable at all. Yawn. By the way, the only childish thing here is you acting like that was a seirous question. But, go ahead. It’s REALLY convincing! LOL.

          • RoadApples

            The original curious question I presented: has indeed been debated eloquently by a number of scholars, educators etc. and open to interpretation by fair minded individuals.
            I find your response to my question to be anti-intellectual at best/no-class at worst.
            I urge you to seek out a Psychiatrist for help to treat your insecure and aggressive behavior.

          • TBird73

            Try and keep up derp. I said you asking that question was childish. As in your purpose in asking. Which, you may want to think it was, but was not “intellectually motivated” at all. Tell me genius, if you knew the answer, why did you ask the question? Why, if you want to discuss ideas, do you begin with quizzing people on what they know? Wait, I got it:

            Because you’re a troll.

          • RoadApples

            To be succinct nitwit: you give hollow, yellow belly and useless responses: Futue Te Et Ipsum Caballum.
            Please see mental help!

          • Mike M

            What if the ninth grader doesn’t speak English and is illiterate in Spanish? Been to our schools lately.

        • Mike M

          Taxing something like meals or gasoline is not optional. It’s the law. Were you saying the choice was to not buy the meals?

          • Greg

            I think what s/he means is that it’s not obligatory to eat out or buy gasoline. One can purchase groceries (albeit taxed, but at a lower rate) and cook them with gas, electricity or charcoal (also taxed) rather than eat out and pay the sales and meals taxes which, combined, may be as high as ten percent.

          • TBird73

            Uh, actually I would not consider taxes on consumables and utilities to be optional. Eating at a restaurant is a service, and that is optional

          • Greg

            Well, actually, they are. You eat in and pay consumption-based taxes or you eat out and don’t pay them, but pay the service taxes instead.

            Since we are in Maryland often and buy our food there: no sales tax on most unprepared food items. I am not sure, but I don’t think there is a special meals / restaurant tax in MD.

          • TBird73

            Theoretically they may be avoidable, but in reality they are not. The point being again that you can choose not to eat out relatively easily, whereas not buying gas would be rather difficult and unrealistic for most in Fairfax. The two do not equate. Also, as you somewhat pointed out, you will pay more for general goods and services due to gas and utility taxes as a result of increased shipping and storage costs, whereas a tax on a specific service is contained to that service.

            Anyway, we digress. The point is this is one of those few chances where people get to vote directly on a tax, “democratically” as it were. I say let it happen. My opinion is that it would fail. The reason being that, many, like me, would vote for it if I thought it was a solution to a problem, or that it would buffer my real estate tax. But the ridiculous political dog and pony show over the schools every year have me convinced it would be neither, and would simply disappear in the budget a year after it passed.

          • Greg

            We are on the same page, and share much common ground. I believe there are too many taxes, all of which are at too high a rate and there is vast waste and redundancy in the county and school budgets.

            For example, why does the school system print, in full color, and mail, presumably to every county household, this ACE catalog? It’s 60 pages of paper that goes straight to the trash, and it arrives multiple times a year. Pure waste — all of the information is on line for the (very few) who use it.

            Why does the FCPS even offer ACE? Is that not something that NoVA Community College and the rec centers already do? More waste and more redundancy that should (and must) be cut and killed for good.

          • Arielle in NoVA

            Good point about the ACE catalog. Now that just about everything is available online, it would be a big money-saver to just send ACE postcards to households and have minimal printed catalogs – just for the libraries and to mail to those who specifically request a printed copy.

          • John Higgins

            You pose an interesting question about the printed ACE catalog. I still get tons of printed catalogs from retailers who have outstanding web sites, which I invariably use to place orders. That leads me to the question: do these catalogs pay for themselves (and more) through enrollment that would otherwise not give thought to an ACE class? Does the ACE program make money for FCPS or cost money?

            I can’t answer the first question, although the weekly catalog from Mike’s Cigars suggests an answer. I’ll dig into the second question and share what I learn.

          • John Higgins

            ACE is a self-supporting program. It’s costs are paid from tuition fees, grants, and funding from the federal and state governments. No FCPS operating funds are used in the printing and mailing of the catalog.

            I find that $235,000 of the Schools budget supports ACE. Not sure what that goes to, but it represents .00008704 of the total budget, so I’m not going to spend much time tracking it down.

          • Greg

            Thank you; however, I am not sure how ACE can be self-supporting if it takes $235k from the school budget…plus, “funding from federal and state governments” is tax money, no? Grants, depending on their source, could be tax money too. Those funds should be returned to the taxpayers and not wasted on creating unwanted trash.

            In any case, it’s this exact sort of “justification” that prevents canceling any sort of marginal program that does not focus on the core function of K-12 education. I am sure there are hundreds of similar “low-percentage programs” in the school and county budgets, including the many redundancies I’ve pointed out here and elsewhere.

            For bigger waste: tenth largest US school system, but the US’s largest bus fleet? All of which are air conditioned. Why?

          • John Higgins

            To be clear, for the sake of other readers, nothing I’ve said was meant as justification or disapproval of ACE. A question was posed about the cost of catalogs we receive in the mail – in the context of the FCPS budget. Good question. So I set off to gather facts that might inform an opinion.

            The first fact I learn is that no FCPS operating funds are used in printing or mailing these catalogs. Great. So, how ARE they paid for? I don’t know. My assumption is that these costs are reimbursed by the Feds or the state. But they do not come from the FCPS budget.

            New question: since both of those sources are taxpayer funds, shouldn’t we be concerned about possibly wasteful spending? In theory, the answer is “of course we should”. The reality is that (a) “Wasteful” is a judgment one needs a lot more info to support and (b) Fairfax rejecting this funding doesn’t save the taxpayers a dime, the funding will simply go to jurisdiction who will accept it.

            I’m curious about the $235k coming out of the FCPS budget. Clearly ACE is not 100% self-supporting. So, what’s that all about? Interesting question, but not worth the time to pursue ar 8/1,000 of one percent.

          • Mike M

            And none of the County’s business and not cause for special targeting. Your distinction between “consumables” and service is arbitrary and bogus.

          • TBird73

            Ha! The only thing that is bogus here is your commentary and whatever sense of legitimacy you think you have. I guess in little Mikey world, if you don’t understand it already, then it must be bogus, right? Typical ignorant troll.

          • Mike M

            “Little Mikey”? “Ignorant troll”? Were you on the debating team at Yale? Scroll up. My point is clear and you seem fresh out of any logical counterpoint.

          • TBird73

            Logical counterpoints? To your hyperbolic drivel? Why should I formulate a “logical counterpoint” to nonsense? Is this the part in the troll playbook where you declare victory because nobody is willing to logically address your vapid and pointless arguments? Yeah, you win Mikey. Maybe mommy will give you a pat on the head when you come out of the basement.

          • Mike M

            Victory.

          • Mike M

            Right. But it’s presumptuous to think that taxes should be imposed with such deliberate discrimination against diners or restaurant owners. That’s my view. How about we impose a tax on people who drive a car bought for more than $35K? How about folks who pay for a Maid service. We know what this is about. It’s popping people who have dual incomes for another hit of cash to spend on a school system with issues it will not manage. We are dual income so we can get three kids through college. Not so that we can subsidize Garza’s inability to manage. Our lifestyle is NONE of your business and no cause for special targeting.

          • Greg

            I could not agree with you more. Taxes are too many and too high here and are discouraging growth and high-earners from locating or staying here. Far too few cuts are ever made (see my posting about the FCPS ACE program mailings as one example of where painless cuts can be made).

            Also, the poorly named “no car tax” relief is only on the first $20,000 of value for personal use vehicles, so the tax you mention on $35,000 cars already exists. In fact, isn’t the average new car costing about $35k these days?

            http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dta/cartax_pptra_qualification.htm

          • TBird73

            Huh?? It’s optional in that you don’t have to go out to eat to live. I didn’t know that was so hard to comprehend.

          • Mike M

            It’s not the county’s business how and where I eat. This tax is deliberately discriminatory and NOT optional is you choose to eat out. I am glad you like more taxes. Pay all you like. Donate to the County. Stay out of my pocket.

          • TBird73

            Soo choosing to go out and eat is not optional?? Does someone abduct you and force you to eat at Carrabas? Yeah dude, that makes a lot of sense. I think it’s time for Mikey to take a nap. You seem a tad grumpy.

          • Mike M

            Yes, TBird. I get grumpy when people put their hand in my pocket. If you don’t, then you can write a check on my behalf to FCPS and we’ll be square.

            Psst! Buying a $50K car is optional. Having dual incomes is optional. Getting Master’s degree is optional. Working hard at your job? Well, that’s optional too. Shall we tax all those “options?”

            By the way, my social engineering neighbor, working two jobs is optional but it might force you to eat out more. Being a working single parent might be cause for that too. So, those folks need to pay up too?

            Tell Hudgins basta!!

          • TBird73

            So paying any tax to you is “social engineering”. You know, it sounds like you have issues living in a society. You know, there are plenty of places you can go where – I – don’t have to pay for the transportation, fire and police services – you – utilize and benefit from. Or do you think there are magic highway fairies for that?

          • Mike M

            Thanks for the Bill Maher, Steven Colbert, pat, and illogical response. I already pay plenty of taxes. Probably a lot more than you do. My logic is that it’s too much already and more is not acceptable Your logic is that if some taxes are justified, then MORE taxes are always justified?

  • Tina Davenport

    Anyone eating in Vienna, Herndon, Falls Church, Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax City are already paying a meals tax. I live in Fairfax County, but a meals tax never stopped me from eating in any of those areas. People working and visiting Fairfax County would be contributing to the county.

    • Mike M

      Is there a limit to how much we should pay? How about you contribute and leave me alone? You can’t just say, yeah, we SHOULD pay. That is a little Marie Antoinette. I mean there are limits to what we have and there is disagreement about whether we need to pay more and why. So, just saying, “Yeah. We should pay more,” adds NOTHING to the discussion.

      • John Higgins

        I didn’t read Tina’s comment to say “Yeah. We should pay more.” She observed that a meals tax is relatively painless. Mentioning the various local jurisdictions that employ a meals tax (only tiny Clifton is missing) actually does add to the discussion of what Fairfax might do.

        You raise important questions: Why does government need to spend more? and why? are valid questions on the expenditure side. Once that has been decided, we flip to the revenue side: how are you going to pay for it?

        The answer today is basically, real estate tax. It works, but often with considerable pain and some element of unfairness. Home values go up and down, often considerably. The tax rate chases those movements, causing uncertainty among taxpayers as to what the next year will bring. (I live 1,000 yards from the Metro station and expected to get hit with a major assessment increase, but my valuation went down. Go figure.). A meals tax, like the sales tax, is a more predictable revenue stream, and it has a significantly favorable effect on the many among us who actually feel the effect of a two- or three-cent tax rate increase….year after year after year. It’s disconcerting that some people will wonder how much longer they can continue to afford the home they have lived in for 20 years.

        In theory, a meals tax would pernanently reduce the real estate tax rate by three or four cents. I say in theory because I have grave reservations that our elected body will view it as anything more than additional revenue to spend. But that takes us back to the expenditure side. That is controllable at the ballot box. (That is, if we really had a two-party system.)

  • Mike M

    I just feel gouged. But I never kow tow. 😉

    • letsbcivil2

      Thanks. Style and substance count.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list