Mount Vernon Letter: Meals Tax Or Slush Fund?

Mount Vernon Letter: Meals Tax Or Slush Fund?

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Recent discussions of the proposed meals tax can be stated as three large problems.

The meals tax proposal contains no details or commitments on how the new revenue will be spent within the school system, no information at all about what problems would be solved. The proposal would have been more credible if it committed to spend 100 percent of the new money to strengthen math and reading programs; since it doesn't, the new money will easily be frittered away on parts of the school budget that don't give students better skills and preparation to succeed after graduation.

An additional tax that targets meals throughout the county is inherently unfair to both those business owners and the workers in those businesses. What possible justification is there to single out only those businesses for the burden of a discriminatory tax? The harm to economic activity in Fairfax County will begin the day that this tax goes into effect and will only grow as business owners decide that our county supervisors aren't friendly to their businesses.

Thirty percent of the new tax will be diverted to unknown uses. Although the proposal lists several possible uses for this large amount of new revenue, there are again no specific commitments. The mention of property tax relief is one example; if the supervisors truly intended to transfer part of the tax burden from property owners to meals purchasers through the meals tax, then they should have included a specific commitment within the tax proposal.

As it now stands, the meals tax proposal is little more than a slush fund with a label designed to appeal to voters. It is misleading as to both the promised benefits and the harm that it will cause. Fairfax County voters can help the school system, restaurant workers, and businesses by voting “no” on the meals tax proposal.

Wayne Meeks