Richmond City Council has voted to increase the meals tax by 1.5 percent on Monday night.
Councilman Parker Agelasto motioned for a 30-day continuance to the proposal, but the motion failed to pass 5-4.
Council then voted on the meals tax, which passed 7-2:
AGELASTO: Y (FLIPPED FROM EARLIER STANCE)
ADDISON: Y (FLIPPED FROM EARLIER STANCE)
The increase will go into effect July 1.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney released the following statement after the vote:
Tonight, the City of Richmond sent a strong message to its students that it is no longer willing to kick the can down the road when it comes to providing them with modern, safe and healthy environments in which to learn. This is just the first big step in what will be many more steps to improve our schools for our children, and for the generations of Richmond Public School students to come. After decades of telling them to wait, tonight we put them first. We are moving full-steam ahead with our plan to generate $150 million in new school construction and renovation of facilities that have been neglected for far too long.
This was not an easy decision, and it does not solve all of our schools’ challenges, but it was important that we get started now. I’d like to thank the members of City Council tonight for understanding the urgency and importance of our needs and having the courage to take action. And I would like to thank the Richmond School Board and Superintendent Jason Kamras for their advocacy and leadership for the children under their care. Through our Education Compact, we will continue to work together to tackle the challenges that lie ahead and forge solutions that will not only benefit our students but also make our city stronger.
To the restauranteurs who supported this proposal and those who had reservations about it, you are part of what makes Richmond a great place to live, work and play. I will continue to be a champion for you, and I look forward to finding ways that we can make it easier for you to do business and continue to thrive.
The large number and wide range of individuals and organizations who have supported this initiative – from education advocates to the real estate and business community to RPS teachers, parents and students – reinforce the broad consensus that we must move forward. Our kids can’t wait, and you heard their voices.
Our children face a brighter future. Now let’s make it happen.
Stoney wants to raise the tax to bring in millions of dollars to renovate old schools and replace outdated ones.
Richmond NAACP President James "JJ" Minor says they support the meals tax increase, but it isn't enough:
The time is overdue for funding new school construction. To that end, members of the Richmond, VA Branch NAACP support the meals tax increase to generate needed revenue to build schools now. However, we want to be clear that the proposal put forward by the City administration is not enough. It is a beginning. And we charge the Mayor and City Council to look for additional dollars to fully fund the first phase of the facilities plan brought forward by the Richmond City School Board. The time is now to do that which is right by the 24,000 students in our school division. I repeat, this is a beginning. We expect more.
Read our previous coverage of this topic here.
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