Raising the Meal Tax to Pay for Affordable Housing
At the beginning of May, the City Council of Alexandria, Virginia approved a 1 percent increase on the city's meal tax to raise revenue for affordable housing.
The additional percentage will raise an expected $4.75 a year for the city's affordable housing fund, reports Patricia Sullivan for The Washington Post. The remainder of the meal tax goes directly to the city's general fund. Sullivan explains the current state of the city's affordable housing funding:
The affordable housing fund has no money at the moment, a result of the city’s decision in January to spend $9 million to help the Church of the Resurrection begin its effort to build 113 units of housing on its property. Housing Director Helen McIlvaine later said that developer contributions, which under state law the city must negotiate with each proposal, usually bring in about $4 million annually.
Sullivan also reports on the political opposition to the tax from the restaurant industry in the city—an angle also picked up by Dan Friedell, reporting for WTOP.
For more on the need for affordable housing in the city, as a result of changes in the housing market in the city of Alexandria, see also an article by Jared Brey for Next City.