Regulation

D.C. Food Trucks Don't Mind Paying Taxes, Would Rather Not Get Screwed

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D.C. city councilman Jack Evans is tired of waiting for his money. The chairman of the city's finance and revenue committee says new regulations on food trucks have been pending for too long, and he's ready to get down to the business of extracting cash from the burgeoning crop of food trucks cruising the city with tacos, kebabs, and BBQ in tow. Evans eloquently explained his position to The Washington Post:

"My position is, if I give you enough time and if you don't do it, [expletive] you, I'm going to move ahead and put the tax in place," Evans said. "That's how I operate. People know that's how I operate."

The bill Evans pushed out last week, a revision of the Vendor Sales Tax Collection and Remittance Act of 2011, would apply the extra 10 percent tax tacked onto checks by bricks-and-mortar restaurants to food trucks as well, and set a minimum tax payment for all vendors. So why the hustle?

"They could have easily fixed [the licensing problem], but they choose not to," says Josh Saltzman, co-owner of the PORC truck and its forthcoming spin-off restaurant in Columbia Heights. "But they don't care about fixing the code and making it fair for all businesses. They care about getting retribution for businesses that have a problem with food trucks."

The tax would kick in on October 1, and most food truckers say they don't mind paying their fair share. But they object that without regulatory clarity, their tax burden could wind up being double or triple the intent, depending on how the tax rules are enforced. 

Reason has been on the food truck beat. We even made a video!