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Letter to the Editor: Yes to Eating Out, No to Higher Taxes

By Staff | Aug 4, 2021

At DaVinci’s, we love giving our neighbors in the Mid-Ohio Valley a quality dining experience for affordable prices. But earlier this year, some lawmakers proposed legislation that would hurt our business through increased taxes.

The pandemic was difficult for small business. Like many others, we fought to stay open and serve our community and now we are working our way back. Yet this past legislative session, some lawmakers in Charleston – led by Gov. Justice – considered increasing the sales tax and increasing taxes on key menu items like our non-alcoholic beverages. If enacted, these taxes would raise costs for our business and, in turn, bills for our customers. We strongly opposed these proposed tax increases, as it would threaten the livelihood of our business at a time when every penny counts.

Fortunately, the legislation failed this session, but it may be re-introduced soon. The proposals would impose taxes on beverages that we serve, such as sparkling water, soft drinks, drink mixes, juices, and sports drinks, to rise by up to 500% and could possibly leave West Virginians paying some of the highest sales taxes in the country.

At DaVinci’s, we pride ourselves on offering high quality and affordable meals. Higher taxes on our beverages would require us to raise our prices and likely force our customers to reconsider how often they eat at our restaurant. Price increases may also push some families to dine-out in Ohio, where taxes are lower.

We know that West Virginians are eager to return to normal – and eat out at restaurants. But raising taxes on meals will slow our recovery, hurting local businesses and restaurants. We must work together to ensure Charleston says no to higher beverage and sales taxes.

Chris Bender is the owner of DaVinci’s restaurant in Williamstown. She is also a member of West Virginia Against the Beverage Tax. For more information visit www.WVAgainstTheBeverageTax.com.

Chris Bender, Williamstown