The so-called “popcorn tax” in D.C. is losing steam, but D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray says he hopes his proposal to tax concession sales at local movie theaters will spark some dialogue.
The original plan called for a 5 percent surtax on soda, candy, popcorn and other concession items. The city would then use 75% of that revenue to finance a movie theatre somewhere east of the Anacostia River -- where right now -- there are no movie theaters.
But the National Association of Theater Owners immediately panned the proposal this week.
"We feel it's misdirected and unfair to attack theaters already contributing to the District’s economy to subsidize a direct competitor," says Todd Halstead, the group's spokesman.
Gray seems to be walking back the popcorn tax, saying the proposal isn't set in stone, and likening it to the "beginning of a conversation."
"We are trying to send a message too, that the same amenities ought to be available to people east of the river as they are west of the river," Gray says. Any tax or fee increase would need to be approved by the D.C. Council.