The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, February 03, 2021 11:59 am

Senate Chairman: No bills to increase local food and beverage taxes this session

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Fort Wayne's bid for a city food and beverage tax was short-lived.

Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Chairman Travis Holdman said Wednesday he will not be hearing any bills to increase local food and beverage taxes this session.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and in response to concerns expressed by Indiana's restaurant industry, the Republican members of that committee have agreed now is not an appropriate time to consider these tax increases as the economy continues to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, a press release said.

"According to an industry survey, about one in five Indiana restaurants has permanently closed since the start of the pandemic, making it more critical now than ever to support Indiana's restaurants," Holdman said. "I know that there are some localities that may not like this decision, but we firmly believe that a tax increase on our restaurants is simply not appropriate at this time.”

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry announced last week he was pushing a 1% food and beverage tax for the city to use for development projects in the future. It would have yielded at least $5 million a year.

He said the tax wouldn't have gone into effect until 2022 to allow the hospitality industry to rebound first.

Fort Wayne Sen. Liz Brown posted she had not spoken to the mayor about the bill but had made clear to the Greater Fort Wayne membership that she opposed it.

“Our restaurants and bars have been devastated by the pandemic, and I cannot imagine imposing an additional tax burden on them.

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