Stop Meals Tax--Charlottesville
The City Council of Charlottesville is proposing an increase of 1% to our City’s Meals Tax in order to meet their budget desires. We are asking the City to look deeper and more creatively to meet their budget requirements, rather than taking the ‘easy’ path of increasing this unfair regressive tax. This is not just a tax on Restaurant Owners, but is in fact a tax on EVERY ONE OF US. While, at first glance, 1% may not seem like much, it will have a HUGELY adverse effect on Charlottesville’s world renowned restaurant culture, and all the customers who enjoy and support it. We, the Restaurant Owners, Workers, and Customers of Charlottesville ask that you stand with us against this increase. And here are just a few reasons why:
Meals Tax is a REGRESSIVE TAX that affects people unfairly. It penalizes small business owners, lower income and senior citizens, and service industry workers. (Information below from Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington RAMW)
Low to Middle Income Families-A greater majority of low and middle income families have two income households and are forced to buy meals in casual and fast food restaurants to feed their families on a daily basis. While these families can least afford the increased food prices they will support a large portion of the tax increase.(Source:Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Restaurant Association; 2011 data)
Senior Citizens-Senior Citizens dine out to a much higher degree than the average resident. For the most part these citizens live on fixed incomes. While many of these residents have tight budgets they will be forced to support a larger portion of this tax increase than the average resident (AARP Public Policy institute http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/ppi/econ-sec) (USCensus, http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/aging_population)
Restaurant Employees-Wait staff in full-service restaurants will likely be the most severely affected by the proposed meals tax increase. These employees’ primary source of income are tips. The gratuity on meals is immediately reduced by customers when a locale imposes or increases a meals tax.
There is a tipping point on the amount of tax that will be tolerated by the consumer and the businesses and we are dangerously close already. Raising the Meals Tax is a disincentive to our local population. The increase will push our currently loyal customer base to stay home, brew their own beer and cook in their own kitchens. The captive tourist population who have no choice just as the masses that visit UVA with their American Express accounts will not blink an eye. Our local population, our baseline, the customers that keep us in business through good and bad are the ones who will be penalized.