The Locker Room

Let them (pay more to) eat cake!

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 4:23 PM

From the group Durham Citizens Against the Food Tax:

Grassroots Group Holds Kick-Off Effort To Defeat Durham Meals Tax
Group sets eyes on defeating proposed Durham Meals Tax in fall election
 
Durham – A grassroots group of citizen leaders today announced the creation of Durham Citizens Against The Food Tax.  The group is a non-partisan grassroots effort to defeat the 1% prepared meals and beverage tax that will face Durham County voters in the fall 2008 election.
The group brings together people of all political persuasions who believe in several basic principles:

• The proposed Durham Meals Tax is an unfair and unnecessary regressive tax that hurts the poorest Durham residents the hardest.

• With gas and food prices already at record highs, voters should vote against this misconceived tax because this is the wrong time to raise taxes on food.

• This is a tax on necessity to fund luxury. Durham residents should not be forced to pay a higher tax on food, to fund a minor league baseball museum and other cultural projects that are unlikely to be used by the poorest among our citizens.

Dr. Lavonia Allison, the Durham Committee of the Affairs of Black People’s longtime chairwoman, is helping direct the effort. She says the tax is regressive and would further imperil the many people already in dire financial straits.

 “As an organization, we simply must help defeat this unfair tax. Cultural amenities are nice, but with the challenges facing low- and middle-income people, many of them have little opportunity to enjoy cultural opportunities,” Allison said. “The Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People has always been against regressive taxes tax their can be no more regressive tax that this one.”

The tax would cost patrons, primarily local citizens, $5 million to $7.5 million/year. Most of these citizens will not visit or benefit from the projects they are proposed to be funding. The money collected from this regressive tax will not improve schools, roads or public safety. It will not help Durham’s poor residents find affordable housing.

“Restaurant meals are already subject to a state and local sales tax. The proposed meals tax would be in addition to that tax and would tax meals and beverages, said Paul Stone, President of The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association. This is not just a tax on expensive meals but fast food which many hard working Durham residents must eat in-between their two jobs. No single retail industry, such as the restaurant industry, should be taxed to the exclusion of other retail industries.  Such taxation is discriminatory.”

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