Restaurant owner Gene Devine also spoke in opposition, along with N.C. Central University law student Norlan Graves, N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association president Paul M. Stone, and Dallas Woodhouse, treasurer of the Durham Citizens group.
"Everything is in a crisis now," said Devine, referring to the national economic situation. "If there's the worst time to do anything, it's now."
The presentation included a display of grocery-store merchandise the opponents said would be subject to the tax, such as a bucket of fried chicken, a sandwich and cupcakes.
"Durham will survive without the tax," said Woodhouse, who organized the Durham opposition as state director of Americans for Prosperity, a national limited-government lobbying organization.
Woodhouse and several other opponents attended the pro-tax kickoff in September. Several proponents were on hand at today's press conference.
Julie Ketner-Rigby of the Museum of Life and Science said census data demonstrate that prepared-food taxes are actually progressive, affecting affluent consumers more than those of lower incomes.
Woodhouse said that claim is "a fundamental mistake. ... Nothing can be more regressive than taxing food."
This of course explains why Mr. Dallas Woodhouse is leading the fight to remove the 2% tax that Durham currently collects when you buy that uncooked chicken at the grocery store to take home and cook it yourself, right?
Except that, you know, he isn't.
What a load of bullshit from opponents to the tax. There's lots of legitimate reasons to oppose the tax. Its regressivity isn't one of them.
Here's some irony for you. I usually partake of the Friday afternoon oyster special at Fishmonger's. When i left for my California vacation, oysters were 5 bucks a dozen on Friday afternoons. When i got back, not only was Fishmonger's sporting a couple of "No To The Meals Tax" placards around the restaurant, but they had managed to raise the price of oysters 40%, to 7 bucks a dozen. Think that will reduce sales as much as taxing me a nickel for each dozen i used to eat, money which will pay for improvements to my community? Look, Gary can charge whatever he wants to for the food he sells in his restaurant. He doesn't even have to use his revenues to "renovate" the bar upstairs, or make the bathrooms a little more sanitary. But damn if i'm going to spend my money on that hypocrite.
UPDATE: And shame on the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People for getting into bed with the reactionary "Americans for Prosperity." Dr. LaVonia Allison's reputation has dropped to a new low in my book. Americans for Prosperity is actively campaigning against Democrats, including Kay Hagan, whom the Committee has endorsed in her Senate run against do-nothing incumbent Liddy Dole. Dr. Allison, as a member of the state executive committee of the Democratic Party, should know better than to give credence to an extreme right-wing group that exalts Ronald Reagan on their website.