Foxboro Adds Meals Tax

Foxboro has become the latest community to add a 0.75 percent local option meals tax on top of the state’s 6.25 percent tax.

After about 90 minutes of debate this week, annual town meeting voted 318 in favor of the tax, 221 opposed.

The tax will add 75 cents to a $100 tab for food and alcohol at a restaurant or bar. The additional tax will also apply to food and beverage sales at Gillette Stadium.

The town previously rejected the tax twice — and lost out on a potential $1.2 million in revenue over a two-year period, town manager Kevin Paicos said during a slide presentation in favor of the article, according to the Foxboro Reporter.

Paicos created the presentation, which he has made several times before — notably at the senior center — on behalf of the previous board of selectmen when it favored the tax by a 3-2 margin.

According to the state department of revenue, the new local tax will give Foxboro approximately $600,000 in new revenue in fiscal year 2012, which will begin on July 1, 2011, and $750,000 in subsequent years.

The town plans to apply $300,000 of that sum toward what is now more than a $62 million unfunded liability for retiree health insurance obligations, and use a like amount for such needs as road repair.

In mailings and leaflets, restaurant owners warned that the new tax would hurt business in a down economy.

At town meeting, however, Joanne Drive resident Joseph McGuire, the chief financial officer for a chain with 14 restaurants in Massachusetts, said passage of the meals tax in other communities has had “zero” impact on his company’s bottom line and “negligible” effect on hiring, as reported by the Foxboro Reporter newspaper.