EOD's current post is focused on Dare being one of four NC counties (we have 100 counties in our state) with a 1% local "food preperation" tax. EOD titled the post "Locals Dine Out Once in a While Too...". The post merely made note of the tax, but the comments that followed were amusing. Here is a sample:
$100 meals are not in our budget; and rarely are $50 meals; however we do tip @20%. :)
Working people and most retired people in Dare County cannot afford this kind of luxury. Perhaps a tax exempt card for locals would be in order, huh? :)
A tax-exempt card and off-season discounts for locals might generate some needed business for local restaurants.
No doubt times are very tough locally. And the libertarian side of me blanches at any extra tax funds flowing into government coffers unless its purpose is well-defined and provides some form of long-term economic benefit. But seriously, a 1% local meals tax affecting dining out?
I can imagine a conversation right now...
Husband: Well, you know a meal there costs almost a $100 for two. And we need $20 for the tip. But damn, that $1 extra for the local meals tax absolutely puts that restaurant out of our budget.
Wife: How about Mama Kwan's?
Husband: Last time we went there, it cost us $33. Can't afford the extra 33 cents either.
Husband: I think we can afford the extra tax there, as long as the bill is under $10. Even then, that's gonna cost us a dime.
Wife: Those damn politicians and their taxes. If we eat out once a month at Prime Only, we'd have to cough up $12 more dollars per year. I wonder if the owners of Prime Only recognize what this ridiculous tax is costing them and how much business they lose to Sonic each and every day?
Husband: I know. But EOD is looking out for us working folks who can't afford such luxuries. By the way, have you seen my $300 inline fishing rod? I heard the rock are running just off Mann's Harbour.
Wife: It's in the closet next to your LL Bean GORE-TEX® insulated/waterproof boots, which you will need. It's cold out there. And don't forget to pick up that deer head at the taxidermist.
Now, even I believe Prime Only is an extravagance. But smaller, less expensive restaurants like Kwan's, Barefoot Bernie's, and Captain Frank's Hot Dogs are in need of some economic stimulus.
Let's say every person in Dare County should be entitled to eat out once per month at a place like Kwan's for $17, and twice at Capt'n Franks, say for $10 without the added burden of a 1% Prepared Food Tax. That's $27 per month; add in the 1% prepared food tax, the result is .27 cents per month or $3.24 per year per diner. Assuming a population of 30,000, including infants and the infirm, the grand total is $97,200 paid by local residents for three dining trips per month. Now, some people eat out far less than three times per month and other locals dine out more often. But obviously, this tax is preventing more folks from eating out than would if the tax were absent. Thus, in the spirit of Obama and Bush, I propose a "Dare County Restaurant Stimulus Plan" that would cover the tax burden of two economical (hot dogs or Happy Meals) and one modest restaurant visit per month.
Thus, each resident from the newborn to the centenarian will receive a $3.24 annual rebate to cover the tax burden of three dining experiences per month. To insure that the money is not blown all at once, say on one trip to Taco Bell, I would stipulate the county distribute the rebate in twelve installments of 27 cents each.
I am sure when this is completed (which is what EOD readers are endorsing), Dare residents will no longer view dining out as a "luxury" and armed with that extra 27 cents per month, locals will be hard pressed to find a restaurant seat.