Mount Vernon Letter: Meals Tax: Missing Items on This Menu

Mount Vernon Letter: Meals Tax: Missing Items on This Menu

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

It’s good to be the King, especially when you can manipulate the message and censor opposing points of view to an entire county on a major referendum issue.

All residents are being mailed a brochure from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors titled “2016 Meals Tax Referendum, It’s Your Decision,” describing a proposed 4 percent tax on meals at most restaurants. But if you’re looking for an objective source of information upon which to evaluate your decision, look elsewhere. This mailing is simply a hearty and transparent endorsement of the plan by a determined board with a never-satiated appetite for more. Their “voter guide” excludes any mention of the reasons why it should not pass, reasons that thoughtful voters might like to know but obviously information our Board of Supervisors feel entitled to withhold.

It would have been nice if the board had made even a token mention of the major concern that many have. If the Meals Tax passes, families will pay more for food.

Instead, the Board of Supervisors plead poverty, bemoaning the fact that “almost 90 percent percent of Fairfax County non-property tax revenues are capped, limited, or controlled by the state.” They then subtly suggest that the meals tax will be less painful than increasing property taxes … meaning of course, sooner or later, they’ll get you one way or the other.

Instead of capitalizing on new categories upon which to tax residents, perhaps our Board of Supervisors should spend responsibly within their means like we all do at our kitchen tables. Yet, all tax increases in Fairfax County are defended on the need to keep up with the growing region because — as the conventional wisdom goes — you need more growth to expand the tax base and keep taxes low.

Yet, as a life-long resident of the county, I’ve observed that as the county has gotten bigger, so too have my taxes and cost of living. This grow-more-tax-more-so-you-can-grow-more idiocy is a self-propagating cycle that fuels higher costs and lower quality of life. It’s also a perfect excuse for both conservative politicians to curry favor with the business community and liberal politicians to do what they are naturally inclined to do; take your money.

A more objective Meals Tax brochure might have included this opposing point of view: Taxing the food you eat in restaurants won’t be necessary if the Board of Supervisors has enough brains to slow growth in this out-of-control county, already crippled by traffic and congestion. If we did that, we’d have fewer infrastructures to maintain and we wouldn’t have to devise duplicitous new tactics to pick your pocket to pay for all the insane growth we’re choking on.

Bob Dane