Fort Wayne City Council news release concerning Mayor Tom Henry’s food and beverage tax increase:
Members of Fort Wayne & Allen County Councils React to Proposed Food and Beverage Tax Increase with Joint Resolution
Fort Wayne, Indiana (February 3, 2021) – City and County elected officials, along with local restaurant owners, met at Don Hall’s Gas House today to introduce a joint resolution advising the State Legislature that lobbying efforts by the City Administration to raise the Food & Beverage tax are premature. At this time, the City Administration does not have the support of the local fiscal body required to pass it.
Allen County Council President Kyle Kerley said, “Our local restaurants have been one of the most damaged segments of our economy and we cannot take any actions to further hurt them, their employees and the families they support.”
Fort Wayne City Council President Paul Ensley said, “The restaurant industry is in a fight for its very survival, with several local restaurants already closed. Any talk of raising taxes on restaurants is counterproductive right now.” Councilman Tom Didier added, “This tax proposal directly targets and industry that is already facing incredible challenges. Putting this kind of threat over their heads would cripple these establishments we as a community have worked so hard to support over the last year.”
Nationwide, over 110,000 restaurants have permanently closed since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, approximately 15% of all restaurants (source: National Restaurant Association). “The restaurants and their employees are hurting. Twenty percent of all restaurants in Indiana have already closed since the pandemic began,” Said Jimmy Schindler, owner of Bandidos restaurant. The industry had been under pressure for years before Covid-19, revenues are down 36%, and food costs are up 2.7% over the previous year (source: National Restaurant Association).
As presently constituted, the Food and Beverage Tax is 1% and is a county-wide tax.
Should the resolution pass, it will be the first significant joint resolution by the Fort Wayne City Council and County Council in the last decade. The resolution, being sponsored at City Council by Councilmen Arp, Didier, Ensley, Freistroffer, and Jehl, will be formally discussed by each body at an upcoming meeting.