I recently traveled to the self proclaimed vacation capital of the world, Orlando Florida. While sitting back in my comfy restaurant chair, thinking about the delicious meal I had just enjoyed, I was presented with the bill. I took a quick look and thought, there must be some mistake. There’s no way this Mecca of tourism could possibly have a lower meals tax than quaint old Williamsburg. But I would be wrong. Turns out Orlando, Florida doesn’t strangle their residents as badly as Williamsburg, Virginia does. Orlando’s meals tax sits at a reasonable 6%, while Williamsburg’s is a whopping 11%.
So who can you thank for this tax? Senator Tommy Norment. Our tax was already sitting at 10% when Mr. Norment stepped in and proclaimed Colonial Williamsburg too big to fail and promised to prop them up on the backs of taxpayers by increasing the meals tax to 11%. “The sales tax hike would generate $24.5 million in fiscal year 2019, according to the bill’s financial impact statement.” The extra revenue will be split among localities to further pet projects. In other words, “feeding the fungus”.
What can residents of Williamsburg James City County and York County do? Step one – Make sure the inventor of the tax, Tommy Norment, does not get reelected. (Term expiration 2020) This was his pet project to save Colonial Williamsburg. Tax dollars taken from citizens used to prop up a private business. Step two – Let Williamsburg City Council and the Williamsburg Economic Development Authority know you don’t like them playing favorites. Similar tax incentives are being handed out to businesses such as the Precarious Beer Project and Ace Peninsula Hardware. If you are a business owner working in Williamsburg you pay taxes on the amount of gross sales each year. So if you make more money you have to pay more in taxes to your local government. In the case of the Precarious Beer Project and Ace Peninsula Hardware, a portion of their gross receipts sales tax i.e. business license tax are being forgiven in hopes that they will have more in sales to offset the break over the next five years. If you own and operate a business in Williamsburg, James City County, or York County, your tax revenue is being used to grow the bloat in local government. Unless of course you know someone in City Council or the EDA. Then you are getting a tax break. Step three – vote out all of the Board of Supervisors who voted for the tax.