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Fredericksburg City Beat

This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.

Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or pgould@freelancestar.com. Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or rsidersky@freelancestar.com.

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“But it’s not their money.”

We wrote today (though it doesn’t appear to be online) that the council is going to have its second go-round tonight with a public hearing on reducing the discount, rebate, whatever you want to call it, that restaurants get for filing their meals taxes on-time. They’ll also hear a proposal to eliminate the rebate hotels get for filing lodging taxes on-time.

The first time we ran an article about this, the only response I got came from Fredericksburg Square owner Van Perroy, who argued that the rebate was necessary, as a reimbursement for the staff time it takes to tally up what is owed in meals tax and turn it over to the city.

When the council held it’s first public hearing on the proposal, it heard from three small restaurant owners. Two of them said the discount money was too important to their bottom lines to lose, and one of them–Frederick’s owner Frederick Heller–actually admitted he hadn’t been paying his meals taxes on-time, owed interest, but if he ever were to pay them on time, he sure would like the discount.

I just had a call today from a man who said he’s very confused to learn that the city gives money that he always thought was going to the government back to private businesses (This money isn’t nearly enough to pay any million-dollar bonuses, though.).

"It’s not their money, it’s the taxpayer’s money," he said. He is similarly confused about why such a discount exists for the city lodging tax and state sales tax.

I’ve seen comments like this on the stories we have run on this topic before. People see the meals tax addition on their restaurant bills as something that helps keep them from paying more taxes somewhere else. They don’t see it as something that’s going back to the restaurant’s bottom line. Not sure if we’ll hear any of that tonight.

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Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/citybeat/2009/03/24/but-its-not-their-money/

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