AFFORDABLE HOUSING | The Alexandria City Council has formally adopted a proposal to increase its local meals tax to 5% to help raise $4.75 million annually for its affordable housing trust fund. A number of restaurant owners oppose the increase, which would cause the city to have the highest dining-out tax rate in the region. (WaPo, 5/1)
Alexandria’s existing meals tax is 4 percent, on top of a 6 percent statewide tax on restaurant meals. Arlington County also has a 4 percent local meals tax, as does Washington. There is a 6 percent statewide sales and use tax on meals in Maryland.
Alexandria council members debated the meals tax hike for several months, and ultimately decided it was the least painful way they could find to raise money for affordable housing, which is urgently needed in Alexandria and throughout the region.
FOOD INSECURITY | Montgomery County has launched a new website that allows users to see where food insecurity is concentrated in the county. (Bethesda Beat, 5/1)
ENVIRONMENT | Maryland joins 16 states and D.C. to sue EPA over vehicle emissions standards (Baltimore Sun, 5/1)
PHILANTHROPY | National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy has released a toolkit to help foundations assess how well they are building, sharing and wielding power, and to help identify ways to transform their programs and operations for lasting, equitable impact. Download it here. (NCRP, 5/2)
PUBLIC SAFETY | Police in D.C., New York revise shooting policies in response to vehicle ramming attacks (WaPo, May 1)
Happy National Truffle Day!