Letter to The Editor
“Is the Searcy A&P tax a “restaurant” tax?
Besides the 3 percent tax increase on rented or leased accommodations, Ordinance 2009-10 raises taxes by 1 percent on “prepared food and beverages for on-premises or off-premises consumption” sold by Searcy businesses, including but not limited to restaurants. Ark. Code Annotated (ACA) § 26-75-602(c)(2) governs that ordinance, and the state has defined “prepared food” for us. ACA § 26-52-103(17) says it is food “sold in a heated state or heated by the seller,” “sold with an eating utensil provided by the seller,” or “Two or more food ingredients mixed or combined by the seller for sale as a single item.” When the legislature reduced the gross receipts tax on food, the DFA issued further clarification on “prepared food” in RULE 2007-3 found in the policy and legal documents section of the Arkansas DFA Web site. (www.dfa.arkansas.gov/offices/policyAndLegal/Documents/et2007_3.pdf).
It contains examples clearly indicating that a tax on prepared food is more than a “restaurant” tax.
The A&P tax increase will make “fast food” and many other foods purchased at grocery or convenience stores and concession stands more expensive. As Mike Chalenburg, one of the Aldermen supporting the tax, said in an e-mail last May, “Regarding visitors to our town, the estimates I have heard say that the people of Searcy will pay for more than half of the tax.”
The people of Searcy will pay more for grocery-store baked goods, coffee, donuts, fountain drinks, take-and-bake pizza, popcorn seasoned with salt and butter, candy, mixed fruit, and many grocery deli items like rotisserie chicken, fried potatoes, and meat and cheese trays if they are heated, made, combined, or sold with an eating utensil by the seller. However, despite what has been said to the contrary elsewhere, deli meat sliced and wrapped for you is not “prepared food.”
Before we vote on the A&P tax April 13, let’s be informed voters, do the research, and see the truth for ourselves.”
The Arkansas Patriot is a conservative organization dedicated to equipping citizens with the truth, insuring transparent government, and encouraging citizens to question their government boldly. The editor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow The Patriot on Twitter and Facebook.