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More About Fairfax County Meals Tax at Thursday Forum

by Karen Goff September 27, 2016 at 4:20 pm 33 Comments

Ted's Bulletin at Reston Town CenterThe League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area is co-sponsoring a forum this week on the proposed Fairfax County meals tax.

The question of a 4-percent tax on meals and other prepared foods will be presented to voters in the general election Nov. 8. The tax would add an additional $100 million annually to county coffers. Seventy percent of it would go to Fairfax County Public Schools.

Surrounding jurisdictions such as Alexandria, Arlington, the District, and the towns of Herndon, Vienna already have meal taxes.

Fairfax County last held a referendum on a meals tax in 1992. It failed.

Proponents say it is a necessary way to diversify revenue without continuing to raise property taxes. Opponents say it will hit lower income people the hardest and it is unfair to the restaurant industry, among other issues.

Here is what you need to know:

The forum is Thursday, Sept. 29, 7 to 9 p.m. at Luther Jackson Middle School Auditorium, 3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church.

The moderator will be Mary Kimm, editor of the Connection newspapers.

The panelists in opposition to the meals tax will be Springfield Supervisor Pat Herrity (R) and Jon Norton from Great American Restaurants. The panelists in support of the meals tax will be FCPS’ Hunter Mill School Board rep Pat Hynes and Phil Niedzielski-Eichner, management consultant.

The panel will take questions from the audience. Questions may also be submitted in advance by writing to [email protected] or by taking a survey.

  • Mike M

    The forum and the survey are a deceptive attempt by pro-tax people to shape the argument to their favor. Mary Kimm, the moderator has already editorialized in favor as far back as May. http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/news/2014/may/07/editorial-yes-meals-tax-referendum/

    • absoutley….

    • One really

      Translation key for liberal media below.

      Nonpartisan – Democrats “we are the good guys”

      Right wing nuts – Republicians

      My father told me when I was 16 maybe 18 everyone starts a liberal. Your full of ideas and change. You think the government is good for everything. The candidate running for president is playing a saxs on late night. Whoa how cool.

      Then by your 30s – 40s when you grow up and pay taxes. You become more

      • Mike M

        Attributed to Winston Churchill:
        If you are not Liberal before you are 30, you don’t have a heart.
        If you are not Conservative after 30, you don’t have a brain.

        • Guest

          Churchill had more than enough real vigor and wit. It’s a shame he’s such a frequent target of appeal to celebrity. A surprisingly deep look at that popular quote:


          • Mike M

            Thanks for that. I was aware of some “controversy” in the attribution. What your QI page tells me is that it’s pretty widely understood concept and has been for some time. Churchill probably did rehash it.

    • Great point Mike

  • Tax Money

    When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.

  • LesterThePester

    Opponents say it will hit lower income people the hardest – weak case against the prepared meals tax since lower income people don’t eat at expensive fancy restaurants nor do we grocery shop prepared meals. This tax is more likely to benefit lower income by diverting the tax burden to the wealthy.

    • Mike M

      Sorry Lester. You are objectively wrong. This will hit fast food and other meals that low income people do eat. The notion that you are “soaking the rich” is not accurate and a pretty Socialist rationale even if it were correct.

      • Lester

        Let’s do the math: My 99 cent bag of McFries is going to cost me an extra 4 cents, but your $25 Mortons potato is going to cost you an extra buck. You’re hardly taking a soaking, and do please enumerate the “other meals” that low income people do eat.

        • Mike M

          McFries, as you stated, and the like. I already pay more taxes than many. Define ‘Fair Share.’ How much should I, someone you don’t even know, have to pay?

          Your position is essentially, it’s not that much. You could say that about every tax increase ever made. It’s not that much. Let’s do 4% every year? Let’s “diversify” with a new 4% every year. It’s not that much. What if inflation is at 2.5%? Do the County Schools deserve a blank check? Does anyone?

          Did you forget there is already a 6% tax?

          Your view of the world may be a bit shallow. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a $25 potato. I do have two kids in college and am paying their way, which means I am paying a few others way as well. The Socialists among us want to forgive all college debt and pay for it by raising my taxes.

          So, how many others are going to be my financial responsibility? Do they have to face up to any personal responsibility as I did? Or is that passe? And you wonder why people at the tippy top pay nothing.

          • One Really

            Validate point about fair share.
            Between being a homeowner, having two cars, and a descend salary I am paying more than my fair share. If our elected delegate would stop being a pushover in Richmond and letting others steal our money. That would be one revenue stream.
            I have one kid starting college next year. He is getting a full ride (on our backs), because of our planning since he was a baby. I will pay his tution because we would be laugh at for FA. Also, I am not hoping people will give me money whenever I ask and I’ve prepared for the future. So, now I need to pay 4% on for prepared food. What will be the story next year? “Good News taxpayers your real estate tax will only go up 200 this year.” Fairfax County needs to get a clue.

        • South Park Kenny

          Lettuce say i go to the stake house twice a month and eat at micky d’s four times a week compared to my fiancee Aleisha who just takes us to Burger King twice a week, although her son eats off a coupon. What would it be cuz we wanna break out of this cycle and learn how to cook.

          So no town center for us. Can you do the math? Because at the end of the year perhaps we can take our saved cash and have a reunion at the lake hut.


  • Wake up people…..see this….the law is going to screw you when you buy a beer only or a dessert….

    You will have so many violations…and the surrounding area’s are also screwing people…..They are in violation of the law. https://www.facebook.com/groups/711822188878607/

    • Guest

      Your link requires a Facebook login. Can you copy the information here or provide a different link? I really want to know who is breaking the law and how.

  • To the caterers….you want to screw the Food Tax if it passes…do what they do in Richmond in Henrico County….they simply create a company outside these stupid localities….and bill the catering job from the business located outside the localities….and bingo..you are at a 4% advantage than your competition.

    • Roger out and over

      Bratwurst King are you, copy

  • 30yearsinreston

    I’m voting against the Meals tax
    FCPS have to live within their means like we all do

  • CE

    If this passes I will only order a la carte items or appetizers and I won’t be eating a whole meal so you can’t tax me!!!
    So eat that Mary Kimm!!

  • cRAzy

    This is a FOOD tax, not a a MEALS tax. If you buy any food (including beer, etc.) anywhere (supermarkets, delis, restaurants, taco trucks, etc.) 0in Fairfax County, you will pay the tax.

    Until the Board of Supervisors and the School Board can learn to manage their budgets, there is no good reason to pay a county tax just to eat here, including your own home.

    • Guest


      The tax applies only to prepared food and beverages, not “any food”. For example, the meals tax would apply to a salad bar at a grocery store, but not to groceries. It includes exceptions including but not limited to:

      • Cafeterias operated by industrial plants for employees only.
      • Restaurants to their employees as part of their compensation when no charge is made to the employee.
      • Churches that serve meals for their members as a regular part of their religious observances.
      • Public or private elementary or secondary schools, colleges, and universities to their students or employees.
      • Hospitals, medical clinics, convalescent homes, nursing homes, or other extended care facilities to patients or residents.
      • Day care centers.
      • Homes for the aged, infirm, handicapped, battered women, narcotic addicts, or alcoholics.
      • Age-restricted apartment complexes or residences with restaurants, not open to the public, where meals are served and fees are charged for such food and beverages and are included in rental fees.
      • Nonprofits and organizations, such as volunteer fire companies, that serve meals as a fundraising activity, the gross proceeds of which are to be used exclusively for nonprofit educational, charitable, benevolent or religious purposes (there are limits to this exception).

      • Mike M

        So, it’s basically free! Get real. This is a pervasive tax that will hit everyone.

        • Guest

          You’ve attacked an argument I didn’t make. Lies (such as “If you buy any food, anywhere”) hurt the liar.

          • Mike M

            I never said that. This tax is quite pervasive and regressive.

          • Guest

            cRAzy said that, and it is still false, which is why I restated my actual response (cRAzy lied, so here are the facts) and not what you think I said (tax is free because some individuals are immune), which is obviously wrong.

            You’re welcome to your opinion, but you should read more carefully.

  • One Really

    Agreed! In a single income we are just staying afloat. We enjoy nice things. Dinner here and a movie there. Far from what some seems to think “rich” or “wealthy”.

    • Mike M

      I hope you keep your job! (Unless you find a better one.)

  • We have so many violations in Henrico County and I bet you are paying the meals tax on popcorn at the movies. When was the last time you checked your receipt

  • Mike great point and know they will place teenagers at the voting centers to make people feel guilty. But these stupid teenagers don’t know it’s them we fighting for because it is they the taxes will affect when they go out eat!! See the violations look at my receipts https://m.facebook.com/groups/711822188878607?ref=bookmarks

    • Guest

      Your link requires a Facebook login. Can you copy the information here or provide a different link? I really want to know about those violations.

  • Yes. B


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