Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins is sponsoring a forum in Reston Oct. 24, where panelists will discuss the upcoming Fairfax County Meals Tax referendum. The forum is at South Lakes High School, 7 p.m.
The meals tax question will be posed to voters on the Nov. 8 ballot. If passed, the 4 percent tax on restaurant meals and other prepared food will add close to $100 million annually Fairfax County’s tax base. Seventy percent of that will go to Fairfax County Public Schools. The school system has been facing an annual shortfall, which has resulted in a rise in property taxes.
Thirty percent of the meals tax money will go to other county services.
Surrounding jurisdictions such as Alexandria, Arlington, the District, and the towns of Herndon, Vienna already have meal taxes. The Virginia jurisdiations that already have a tax will not be taxed twice; the new tax would affect areas of the county, such as Reston, Great Falls and unincorporated Herndon, that do not currently have a tax.
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.
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