The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is seeking to introduce a referendum ballot measure that would impose a meals tax of 4% on all restaurant meals and prepared foods in Fairfax County. Fairfax County does not currently have a meals tax.
In a time when foodservice operators face high food prices, increasing transportation taxes and rising health care costs, the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) and its members, restaurants and residents in Fairfax County, as well as businesses and voters throughout the Commonwealth, stand in opposition to the call to impose a meals tax in Fairfax County.
If the meals tax is imposed at the 4 percent rate, the total sales tax on prepared food would be 10 percent. The addition of 4 percent meals tax to the current 6 percent sales tax the state charges would constitute a 66 percent tax increase on Fairfax County residents and visitors. RAMW and its members do not think a single business or industry should be burdened with raising revenue for the County’s general fund.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisor’s Message to Restaurants: There’s four for you, ten for me.
According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2013-2014 Operation Report, the average profit margin for a restaurant is about 4 percent. For every one dollar of sales the average restaurant takes home four pennies. If Fairfax County is successful in instituting a 4 percent meals tax, the total tax on meals in Fairfax County will be 10 percent. Under this proposed meals tax the county and the state will take over two times the amount of profit a restaurant owner takes home.
Other Reasons to Say No to a Fairfax County Meals Tax
The meals tax unjustly targets a single industry to raise revenue for the general fund, while placing a disproportionately high burden on low and middle income families, senior citizens, and restaurant employees. Senior citizens and low and middle income families dine out at a higher rate, placing a higher burden on a demographic with fixed incomes and inflexible budgets. For restaurant service staff the primary source of income is tips, which are proven to decrease in counties with a meals tax.
Restaurants located in areas with a meals tax also have a higher turnover rate, and employ a smaller staff. A meals tax not only negatively affects a select demographic of the population, it also harms the success of restaurants, the health of the employees, and the growth of the industry by discouraging new restaurants from opening in the county.
Sign the Petition Today and Say No to a Fairfax County Meals Tax
We present you with this petition as a united voice of opposition to the proposed meals tax. The restaurants, businesses, and residents of Fairfax County and Virginia do not support a meals tax referendum on the ballot, and will vote against a meals tax if placed on the ballot.