New Meal Tax Considered in Fairfax County

Revenues would pay for transportation projects

Monday, Feb 27, 2012  |  Updated 9:42 AM EDT
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Fairfax County is considering raising revenue by levying a tax on meals purchased at restaurants and fast food vendors.  Melissa Mollet explains the proposed new tax.

Melissa Mollet

Fairfax County is considering raising revenue by levying a tax on meals purchased at restaurants and fast food vendors. Melissa Mollet explains the proposed new tax.

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Fairfax County is weighing a 4 percent tax on restaurant meals to raise money for transportation projects.
 
County officials say they need $3 billion to meet transportation demands over the next decade, and they have few funding options.

  The tax would apply to any meals sold at commercial establishments, from upscale restaurants to fast-food joints.
 
The county Board of Supervisors can't simply impose the tax. It would have to be approved by the General Assembly, which led by anti-tax Republicans.
 
The only other way to get the tax approved would be as a ballot referendum for county voters. Fairfax residents rejected a meals tax in a 1992 referendum, and the Board of Supervisors declined to put it on the ballot again two years ago.

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