Mayor Nancy Vaughan read a long statement about considering a prepared food tax at the June 20 City Council meeting directly after the City Council passed the budget.

The City Council passed a 4-cent tax increase for the 2023-2024 fiscal year at the June 20 meeting coming on top of the equivalent of an 8.69-cent tax increase in the current budget.

Vaughan has long been a proponent of a prepared food tax, and with Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston also making a statement in favor of a prepared food tax this week, it appears the full court press is on.

A restaurant or prepared food tax, according to Vaughan, is a way to get more money from people visiting Greensboro who don’t own property here and therefore don’t pay the sky high property taxes.  Vaughan voted against the tax increase last year and again this year and has said that Greensboro needs more revenue streams to compete with other cities in the state that are not as dependent on property tax revenue.

Vaughan said, “I feel that not exploring all funding opportunities is irresponsible and puts our city at a competitive disadvantage and continues to be a drain on property tax revenue. There have been exploratory discussions about potential revenue sources, such as a prepared food tax, increased occupancy tax or a facility fee added to Coliseum arena tickets.  There is currently a $4 fee added to Tanger tickets. It was part of the financing plan to reduce any reliance on property tax.”

Vaughan noted that “65 percent of the people who saw Hamilton over an 18-day period were from outside Guilford County. 80 percent of the people who saw Elton John were from outside Guilford County.” She listed a number of other events at the Coliseum and the Tanger that had similar percentages of people coming to their events.

Vaughan said, “The way we currently budget is that the city of Greensboro property taxpayers carry the burden of building and maintaining our facilities. Facilities that are used by people outside of Greensboro and Guilford County.”

Vaughan also noted that for Greensboro to implement a prepared food tax would take action by the North Carolina legislature and that no request had currently been made of the legislature.

Vaughan said, “There will be ample opportunity for input and discussion. It is our goal to have good information for our residents, our delegation and our legislature to decide if this is the right solution for our community or if we are going to continue to rely on our property taxpayers to carry that burden.”