FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): A proposal looking for authority to raise Fort Wayne’s food and beverage tax is getting some pushback from local restaurant owners.
According to our Partners in News at ABC 21, at least 22 local restaurants have gone on record saying they oppose the proposal that Mayor Tom Henry pitched to state lawmakers this week that would raise the tax by one percent, calling it an “insult” to those in the restaurant industry.
Mayor Henry says if lawmakers approved it, it wouldn’t take effect until 2022, and adds that while it would cost the average customer less than $20 more per year, it would also generate millions of dollars to help fund city projects.
The Indiana House Ways and Means Committee is expected to discuss the proposal next Wednesday.
The Allen County Board of Commissioners released the following statement on the proposed tax increase:
“This is not a priority of the Allen County Board of Commissioners and we’re not advocating for an additional Food and Beverage Tax in the Indiana General Assembly. We have received concerns from local restaurateurs and leaders of municipal fiscal bodies within Allen County and we’re fully committed to supporting our small business owners including those in the bar and restaurant industry to emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever before.”
Last month, the Commissioners and the city of Fort Wayne partnered with GFW to create a grant program of $1 million in federal CARES Act dollars to support local businesses in response to the pandemic. This grant was utilized by multiple restaurants within Allen County that were struggling to stay open.
Last week, the Commissioners met with local restaurateurs and Dr. Sutter (Allen County Health Department) to discuss the effects of COVID-19 on the local restaurant industry. This meeting was productive and a collaborative effort to ensure long-term sustainability of the restaurant industry in Allen County/Fort Wayne, Indiana.
In 1986, a Food and Beverage Tax was adopted by the Allen County Council after they received authority from the Indiana General Assembly. Traditionally, any Food and Beverage Tax that is approved by the Indiana General Assembly must have widespread community support and a specific need for the tax. Presently, the Commissioners have not heard any evidence of widespread support for this measure.”