main banner

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bulova appoints task force to consider meals tax referendum

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova appointed a task force April 22 to explore the possibility of putting a meals tax referendum on the ballot. The task force will submit its recommendations to the board June 17. 

The task force will be co-chaired by former BoS Chair Kate Hanley and former BoS Chair and former member of Congress Tom Davis.

Its members will include representatives of about two dozen organizations, including the Fairfax County Council of PTAs, Alliance for Human Services, Federation of Citizens Associations, League of Women Voters, Republican and Democratic parties, Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, and the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington.

“All of the cities and towns around and within Fairfax County have adopted a meals tax,” Bulova said. “Throughout the past few years, there has also been growing sentiment from constituents and organizations for our board to allow voters to decide whether they wish to avail themselves of this additional source of revenue.” 

The task force will discuss whether a meal tax should be put to a referendum, and if so, when that should happen and how the revenue should be used. “It is ultimately up to the voters to decide if a meals tax is something they would support,” Bulova said.

Virginia law allows the governing bodies of town and cities to approve a meal tax. In counties, however, a meals tax must be approved by voters in a referendum. The last time a meals tax referendum was put on the ballot in Fairfax County, in 1992, it lost with 58 percent of voters opposing it.

Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church and Fairfax City have a 4 percent meals tax. Herndon’s meal tax is 2.5 percent, and Vienna’s is 3 percent. The District of Columbia has a 10 percent meals tax but doesn’t charge a sales tax on restaurant meals. Virginia’s sales tax on restaurant meals is 6 percent. 

According to Bulova, a 4 percent meals tax in Fairfax County would generate about $88 million a year. A meals tax would apply to ready-to-eat foods and beverages wherever they sold, except vending machines. It would not apply to groceries.


  1. Go ahead, raise the tax. I can't afford to eat out anyway. Real Estate assessment up 15% , tax rate now 1.09. What is another 4% on ready to eat food that I can no longer afford. Feel bad for the fixed income folks in Fairfax County. Just vote NO. Current BOS is PoS (People withOut Souls).

  2. We allow many people in our County to live here with out paying taxes and now we are being asked to pay more. I have at least two homes on my street with Maryland plates because they allow illegals to get cars in Maryland and now DC.

    1. I agree with the sentiment. Older residents in my neighborhood are being forced out of their long time homes by property tax increases to educate illegals.
      I thought one area we could enforce was a car living in VA that did not apply for VA registration within 30 days. Please educate me if the illegals have found another loophole for stealing tax paying property owners money.

  3. To reply to the very first anonymous comment 4/22 at 5:26PM. The BoS is without sense (cents) not souls..........get it.

  4. It's really TOO bad that after a week...there are only 5 comments on this important issue. THANKS to the Annandale BLOG for providing this story.

    The so-called "meals tax" is the fairest tax available as it allows many non-property owners to share the tax burden. EVEN the folks here without papers will pay this TAX!

    My bet is that Bulova will use the results of the task force to delay the referendum until ??? The BOS only has until its July meeting to put the meals tax on the ballot.

    PLEASE support the meals tax !!