Prince William County restaurants petition to drop 4% 'meal tax'

Restaurant owners in Prince William County are joining forces to overturn a meal tax that lawmakers imposed last summer.

When the Prince William County Board of Supervisors slapped a 4% meal tax on restaurant patrons last July, it wasn’t popular then, and it’s even less so now. 

At Dixie Bones Barbecue in Woodbridge, owner Nelson Head said the county already had a 6% sales tax when the added 4% meal tax went into effect. Head says the added tax is costing restaurants money and customers as they try to rebuild after the pandemic. 

"Inflation had already pushed everybody’s prices, and our prices up about 8% or 9%. So when they imposed the 4% meals tax on top it pushed it beyond the breaking point, and people saw it, didn’t like it and stopped coming," said Head to FOX 5. 

The "meal tax" was projected to serve up $24.5 million in new revenue, with $14 million dedicated to Prince William County schools. But restaurants say it could drive them out of business and have launched an online petition, and formed an association to repeal the meal tax. 

Customers told FOX 5 they think it’s unfair to small businesses.

"That just doesn’t make sense at all, the revenue you can get somewhere else but why do you attack the restaurants where people eat," said one customer to FOX 5. 

So far, the petition to repeal the meal tax is halfway to its goal of 1,000 signatures. 

FOX 5 reached out to Board of Supervisors chair Anne Wheeler, but was told the chairwoman was not available to speak.