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Fairfax County Meals Tax

In 2016, the Fairfax County Board of Directors proposed a referendum for the November 8th ballot that would add a 4% tax to all prepared and ready-to-eat food items in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Fairfax County Meals TaxTaxed items would include restaurant meals, hotel banquets and catering services, pizza deliveries, grocery store salad bars, convenience store hot dogs, food truck meals, stadium nachos, and more. Fairfax County government insisted that the tax revenues would be used for Fairfax County Public Schools, but no guarantees were made, and ballot language remained non-committal.

Weber Merritt launched an educational campaign in Fairfax County by spearheading the creation of the coalition, Fairfax Families Against the Food Tax. The coalition’s primary goal was to inform voters of the referendum question and what it would truly mean for their hard-earned money. The activities included the following:

  • Recruitment of business supporters
  • Recruitment of volunteers for Election Day
  • Creation of all graphics and logos for the campaign
  • Content writing for all pamphlets, handouts, and other informational materials
  • Weekly press releases and e-blasts to supporters
  • Social media management for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
  • Campaign website and petition management
  • Attending and speaking at major community events
  • Local media outreach

 

Overall Management and Implementation

  • Served as liaison between Fairfax Families Against the Food Tax and Weber Merritt’s grassroots organizers
  • Reported to Fairfax Families Against the Food Tax on all field progress and status of the campaign

 

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Print:

  • El Tiempo
  • Doi Nay
  • Korea Daily
  • Connection Newspapers

 

Full Service Public Relations Support

  • Developed press lists for national, regional and local media outlets
  • Distributed talking points for media interviews
  • Coordinated press materials to be handed out at events
  • Distributed all media advisories and releases
  • Conducted media interview preparation
  • Responsible for all local media outreach

  

Earned Media Results

Fairfax County:

  • Greater Alexandria Patch
  • Alexandria Gazette Packet
  • Fairfax Times
  • Reston Now
  • Falls Church News Press
  • Reston Connection
  • Burke Connection
  • McLean Patch
  • Kingstowne Patch
  • Mount Vernon Gazette

Virginia:

  • Bearing Drift
  • Inside NoVa
  • Connection Newspapers
  • Arlington Connection
  • Gloucester-Mathews Gazette-Journal

DMV Area:

  • WUSA 9
  • WJLA
  • WTOP
  • Washington Post
  • Washington Times
  • Americans for Tax Reform
  • NBC Washington

 

Collateral Production

  • Yard signs
  • Stickers
  • Posters in English, Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese
  • Tri-fold brochures
  • Grocery list of taxed items
  • Election Day handouts in English, Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese

 

Final Results: 

The Fairfax County Meals Tax Referendum was defeated with a 54% majority (290,000 votes).

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