City Councilors Consider Raising Meals and Lodging Taxes
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville City Council is considering a plan that would charge more for people to eat out and visit the city.
This comes after several business owners spoke out against a potential increase in taxes earlier in the week.
On Thursday, March 7, city councilors discussed the impacts of several proposed tax increases for the next fiscal year, which the city says will be used toward affordable housing efforts.
The current draft of the $188.8 million fiscal year 2020 budget calls for a 1 percent raise of both the meals and lodging taxes, with the meals tax going from 5 to 6 percent and the lodging tax rising from 7 to 8 percent.
At Monday night's City Council meeting, several business owners spoke out against an increase and said the meals tax has kept the restaurant business from growing in the city.
On Thursday night, councilors discussed the potential impacts of the meals tax and said it could help make up for a lack of state funding.
“As a local government, we don't have progressive tax tools,” Councilor Kathy Galvin said. “We don't have income taxes, we have to deal with the most progressive taxes that the country allows us to do - the meals tax is one of them."
"We all pay those increased amounts because of how much tourists are willing to pay for food or upper-income people because it’s a major challenge, but I don't look at this one-cent increase for me and my family that we are going to do anything more or less as a result,” Mayor Nikuyah Walker said.
The proposed budget also features an increase in the real estate tax rate to 95 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Councilors will hold another work session regarding the budget on Thursday, March 14, and will hold a budget forum to get feedback from the community on Saturday, March 16, before approving the budget in April.