On January 17, the Senate Finance Committee took up several measures to provide additional taxing authority to counties. SB 115 (Locke), along with the identical SB 527 (Mason), would eliminate the requirement for counties to receive voter approval in a referendum before imposing a meals tax, and would increase the maximum tax rate from 4 to 8 percent. The bills failed to report from committee by a vote of 4-9; however, committee members expressed an interest in taking a comprehensive approach to local taxing authority.
SB 510 (Carrico), which would allow counties to levy a cigarette tax at a rate not to exceed 5 cents per pack or the state rate (currently 30 cents per pack), whichever is greater, after receiving voter approval in a referendum, was “carried over” in the committee. (Bills in even-numbered sessions may be carried over, or continued until the following year in a committee for additional consideration.)
VACo spoke in support of the bills and will continue to advocate for measures that enhance counties’ ability to raise needed revenues.
VACo Contact: Katie Boyle