A Better Tax Break

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The Washington Post

November 28, 2001

Maryland customers can head for the District and find a temporary moratorium on sales tax on clothes, shoes and accessories costing less than $100 [Metro, Nov. 24].

But if these Maryland customers get hungry and decide to eat in a D.C. restaurant, their tax on $100 of food is $10, or 10 percent. They might have saved 5.75 percent on their clothes, but they have to pay 5 percent more for their food by eating in the District instead of Maryland, which has a 5 percent tax on restaurant meals.

If the D.C. Council wants to attract folks to the city, it should adjust the 10 percent restaurant tax to be in line with Maryland’s 5 percent tax and Virginia’s 8.5 percent tax on meals consumed in restaurants. Bringing in “West Wing” actors to promote tourism [Style, Nov. 20] and offering restaurant deals [Business, Nov. 19] and tax holidays will not produce a continual flow of shoppers to the District’s empty stores.



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