Richmond mayor posts petition urging residents to support meals tax increase

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The battle continues over the mayor's proposed meals tax hike to fund schools. Mayor Levar Stoney posted a petition on his Facebook page urging people to let city council know that they support the plan.

"Schools are crumbling, and they're old buildings and they need renovation really bad," said Tania Skiba.

That's the general consensus many have in regards to the conditions of Richmond's public schools.

"Any investment in education is a step in the right direction," said Henrico resident Katherine Gray.

Mayor Stony posted a petition on his Facebook page Friday, urging city residents to let Richmond leaders know that you support the proposed meals tax hike before city council goes to vote Feb. 12.

The issue for some, however, is that when it comes to funding schools solely on your take out, the city should think about funding from other sources.

"I think multi funding streams would be the best way to go. That way, you're not solely relying on one," said Wendy Fewster. "If something happens to that one, you might be in trouble. I don't think 1.5 percent tax is really going to deter people from eating, but you don't want to do it at the expense of the restaurant owners."

The proposed plan would generate an estimated $9.1 million in new revenue to fund $150 million in new school construction and renovation.

"[The tax is] already a lot. I feel like there's other things they could get it from honestly, but it's a start and it's guaranteed it will work, because people eat out all the time," said Cole Denison.

Mayor Stoney has already garnered some support from restaurant owners in the city after meeting with them Thursday over lunch.

"Enough people come to these areas and shop and eat, that I think it can even out and it won't be as negative of an impact as perhaps they think," said Henrico resident Katherine Gray.

"I think the restaurants are just an easy choice," said Skiba "It's not something that's so devastating that it's not going to hit your paycheck too hard. I think it's probably the only way that Richmond is going to generate any kind of revenue for schools."

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