Henrico, Chesterfield meals tax dies in committee

Former Henrico county manager Virgil Hazelett will not be getting a final, farewell present from the General Assembly after all, as House Finance subcommittee #3 has tabled, by voice vote, the meals tax bill that had previously passed the Senate.

The bill would have allowed the Board of Supervisors to impose a meals tax without first putting the measure to a referendum. The county sought such a tax in a 2005 referendum. It failed by a mere 151 votes.

Senator John Watkins added Chesterfield county to the original bill, though the county had apparently not sought to be included in the legislation.

It’s a win for Henrico taxpayers, but it’s also a win for principle. The current process allows the county to put a meals tax referendum on the ballot at any time. That its leaders sought to end-run voters was not only bad form, but also indicated, contrary to their protestations, that they really were terrified of having to face the voters on this issue.