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Jan 27, 2009 10:20 PM

40% food tax increase?

The Boston mayor wants to increase the restaurant food/beverage tax from 5% to 7%. Will you eat out less or stop eating out if it passes? I'll practically stop eating out completely because most restaurants are already overpriced as is.

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  1. The governor has proposed raising the meal tax to 6% state wide and allowing the cities that chose to, to add 1% so they can get some extra imcome. This is small peanuts. Two extra dollars on a hundred dollar tab is not worth worrying about.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ghostcat

      I think it would be very entertaining to watch which cities and towns choose to tack on the extra 1% for themselves. Obviously, the city of Boston will. What about other towns with great food cultures? Will towns with boring food leave out the 1% and try to be cheaper places to eat? Will there be more beer & wine licenses to raise the total bill for that extra 1%?

      1. re: Baiye

        I doubt that the town administrators (or voters if it is a ballot issue) will consider the "food culture" in making this choice.

    2. I don't think most restaurants are overpriced. I think they are using product that is more expensive than you imagine, and their operating costs are incredibly high. Few people make much profit in the restaurant biz. As for taxes, I say bring 'em on. Tax meals, hotels, butts and booze. And churches, while we're at it.

      3 Replies
        1. re: almansa

          I have to disagree with 'few people make much profit in the restaurant biz".
          It's just not true.

          1. re: latindancer

            All the research I've seen says that the average profit margin is 4%-7%. Please show me anywhere that the restaurant business is a high profit industry.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. Boston has one of the lowest meals taxes that I know of. It will kind of suck but certainly won't stop me from going out to dinner.

            1. Thanks to ghostcat for pointing out the small dollar amount this *possible* increase represents. I'm with the folks who think that an increase from 5% to 7% is no big deal, and arguably long overdue.

              The main reason I would be sorry to see the meal tax increase from 5% is entirely personal and trivial: I worked in retail for decades and can calculate 5% in my sleep, and it will be challenging to learn a new tax table. To which I say to myself, oh boo hoo wah.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Allstonian

                I don't understand the comment "long overdue". Why? Is there some reason why meal taxes should be raised? Why do you consider them insufficient at 5%? Is there some cost to the state for restaurant meals that has suddenly risen?

                Of course, I'd be happy if my Ontario ONLY charged 6% - here, we pay an 8% provincial tax on restaurant meals, in addition to a 5% federal sales tax (and that's for the food - any alcohol is taxed at 15%).

                And, speaking of calculating taxes, the GST used to be 7%, so that the total tax on meals was 15%, and many people got into the habit of "tipping the tax" - seeing what the tax was and adding that amount as a tip. Now that the combo is only 13%, I bet a lot of servers are seeing a reduction in their tips!

                1. re: KevinB

                  Is "the state is running out of money and about to have to start making drastic cuts in services if the shortfall isn't made up somewhere" somehow an insufficient reason?

                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                    Works for me. Meals taxes are less regressive than a lot of other taxes. Personally i would like to see the bottle bill amended--- $.25 for all containers, up from the current $.05 on only some containers. That would add to the coffers and encourage more reuse.

                    1. re: AHan

                      It might help encourage reuse or it might not. We just put our empties out in a special box on the stoop for the neighborhood gleaners to pick up and recycle, and I'm not certain that paying an extra $1.50 per six-pack is sufficient incentive for me to bother to hump my empties down to Star Market instead of letting someone else do it for me. And frankly, we're among the more conscientious recyclers in our neighborhood! Most people around here just toss their empties out in the trash: the only reason we've taken to putting them out for the gleaners is so they won't tear through our trash cans every Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                        But the point is somebody is returning them, even if you don't do it yourself. I know I see so many water and juice bottles, not to mention hard liquor bottles strewn about-- more incentive for more money, no?

                        1. re: AHan

                          But what I'm saying is that I don't think most of those would get returned were it not for the gleaners, even for a quarter a bottle, and not all neighborhoods have gleaners.

                          Seems to me like in most of the burbs, what you'd get is something more like my aunt's garage when I was a little kid: a corner of floor to ceiling Dr Pepper and White Rock bottles that no one ever bothered to get the deposit back on. Of course, the state has still gotten the extra 25 cents a bottle on all those, which is good, but it does nothing for the recycling aspect. That's all I was saying.