by Elizabeth Sponaugle
The election results shared on Wednesday, November 9 bid more news than who the next president would be. A meal tax proposed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors was also voted on. The proposed meal tax that would have imposed a four percent tax on prepared food and beverages was rejected by voters on election day.
With 98 percent of precincts reporting, 56 percent of voters said no to the meal tax and 44 percent said yes. Although the tax was rejected many people were for the tax.
“Many teachers, myself included, worked very hard to try to get the meals tax passed. The reason we wanted to get it passed was that 70 percent of it would go straight to FCPS. This extra money would have helped increase FCPS employee salaries, which are currently lower than surrounding counties. When salaries are low, it’s hard to keep good people. I have a friend who used to teach here who’s making far more money teaching at Wakefield. The tax failed and I’m worried that our salaries won’t increase.” said history teacher Mr. Levi.
The meal tax would have generated an estimated $99 million each year, 70 percent of that would have gone to Fairfax County Public Schools and the remaining 30 percent would be dedicated to other county services. The current operating budget for FCPS is $2.7 billion and 71.6 percent of that is comes from Fairfax County. Advocates for the tax argue that it is necessary to pay for our public school system. With the money raised by the tax, FCPS could afford more teachers, buses, and could raise the average amount spent on each student. The tax would have benefited the school system.
“I would say that I’m for [the tax]. I think it’s great that more money would have been put in the economy and the schools, but I was worried that people who are low income would have to pay more for food.” said sophomore Alicia Gendell.
The majority voters were against the tax and some believe that the tax could have evolved into a tax on food and necessities. Approximately 64.47 percent of Stuart was on free or reduced lunch during the 2015-2016 school year. Many feel that the tax would be hard on the families that already cannot afford food.
“I am against the tax because it’s not fair to expect people who are already having a hard enough time affording to live in an expensive county to pay more money for an essential thing to survive.” said senior Antulio Martinez