Guest Post by Jorge Reyna
On June 7th the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted on a referendum to put a meals tax in Fairfax County. Why a meals tax? What’s it for? And how does it affect us? According to the Fairfax County Board the tax is being implemented to help out schools with the following breakdown:
70% of the net revenues will be dedicated to Fairfax County Public Schools.
30%of the net revenues will be dedicated to county services, capital improvements and property tax relief.
According to the county it is supposed to generate $99 million within the first year….. The county says they need the money because once again schools are underfunded. The questions is why? Year after year, the county asks for more money through bonds that we vote for and increased real estate taxes. Every year they keep saying we need more money, the Supervisors and School Board Members feel they need a raise, and take even more of our money. SO, how does this affect us? Well if we vote yes, according to the Fairfax County website, the meals tax will be implemented on ready to eat food and beverages sold at restaurants, as well as grocery stores, convenience stores and delicatessens at a rate of 4% on top of the sales tax of 6%, for a total of 10%.
Now, as a YR (Young Republican) and a father, 10% is a lot of money. To feed my family of 4, and trying to be conservative with what we buy at a restaurant, we spend between $60 – $80 dollars on food. Adding tip at possibly 20%, you are talking about 30% more on the food you just bought, or $18 – $24 dollars extra. It doesn’t sound like much, but it can add up. Also, this will affect servers, employers, and young people. Young people can spend up to $50 – $100 going out at night, because of this tax, they may think twice about tipping 20%. Servers will lose tips to an already low paying job, and employers may cut down on the amount of staff needed. But let’s say people still go out and not much revenue is lost. Well what’s to stop the county from raising that tax more?
A little background on me, I was born and raised in Fairfax County, possibly one of the few natives you will find. I also went to Fairfax County public schools, and my kids started going there. But the schools I remember are not the same any more. In fact, it got so bad for my kids, we decided to home school them. They classified my child as “special needs” so they could get more money from the county. Is my child different, well yes he is, but does he need to be in a special needs program? The answer is no. The problem with the school system is they are trying to fit all the kids in a square peg, while my child is a round one, as many other children are. How does this relate to the meals tax? Well, the meals tax is supposed to flood the schools with more money and alleviate the problem of low teacher pay and being able to educate our children. But the problem is, schools like the one my children attended, try to get more money out of the government for programs that may not be needed.
The whole purpose of the meals tax is to “help” schools. Maybe it’s time we audit the schools and find wasteful programs that don’t help children, or suck money from the school funds, because let’s be honest, in the end, when you give your money to the government, who knows where it will end up, so just vote NO.
Jorge Reyna is a former chairman of the Fairfax Area Young Republicans.