Please call your delegates and senators to encourage them to accept the Governor’s amendment to SB 1296 (Vogel). The bill will be before the General Assembly this Wednesday, April 5, during the 2017 Reconvened Session.
As passed by the General Assembly, SB 1296 restricts a board of supervisors from placing a meals tax referendum on the ballot within three calendar years of the defeat of a previous meals tax referendum. The bill also provides that the ballot question must set out the total taxes that would be applied to meals should the referendum pass.
The Governor’s amendments narrow the window during which a board of supervisors may not hold a subsequent meals tax referendum from three years to one year. The Governor also proposes to eliminate the provision requiring the ballot question to spell out the total tax levy on meals.
- Requiring a three-year delay between meals tax referenda initiated by a board of supervisors is overly restrictive. Currently, voters can reject a referendum at any time it is placed on the ballot. The Governor’s amendments provide for a more reasonable moratorium of one year.
- Specifying the language to be included in the ballot question is overly prescriptive. The Governor’s amendments remove this provision and preserve the current process, which does not preclude localities from including such information in ballot questions or in explanatory material provided apart from the ballot.
VACo Contact: Katie Boyle