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The Daily Tar Heel

Meal plan tax now in effect

Tax changes can fly under the radar on college campuses.

However, the most recent state tax increase did not slip past Hannah Vuncannon.

“I’m on a college budget, so every penny matters,” the sophomore said.

Vuncannon did not plan on losing so many of those precious pennies to the new state tax on meal plans that began in January 2014.

“I definitely don’t want to be spending 10 or 11 dollars per swipe at Ram’s Head or top of Lenoir… even like Chick-fil-a at bottom of Lenoir adds an extra $.50 because of the new tax.”

The N.C. General Assembly passed a sales tax that increased costs of a multitude of items, ranging from meal plans to motor homes — but it is not the extra charge on Winnebagos that has UNC students frustrated.

The increase is hitting some students hard.

The new tax increases meal plans up to $140 for unlimited plans and requires the franchises in the bottom of Lenoir to tax their customers.

The plans are taxed at a 7.5 percent — the same rate that off campus dining is taxed at.

Connor Brady, speaker of Student Congress, said the UNC-Chapel Hill student government has not specifically lobbied against the sales tax, but the Associated Student Governments of all UNC-system schools has worked with the state legislature on the issue.

“We have not taken action on the level of Chapel Hill … but we have worked with student governments across the state to work with the state legislature and the Board of Governors to lobby both of those bodies,” Brady said.

“There will be a meeting of student governments this weekend, and there will be more information after that, I’m sure.”

Mike Freeman, director of auxiliary services, said parents and students have contacted him about the price change, but he does not expect a large number of students to start dropping their meal plans.

“Was I worried originally?” Freeman said. “Yes. Have I seen people saying that they are going away from meal plans? No.”

He said parents and students understand that it was not an increase from the school, but from the state legislature instead.

However, at least one student has decided to be done with meal plans.

“I considered not getting a meal plan at the beginning of this school year but I decided to get the smallest block, but now the tax is definitely the pushing point for me not getting a meal plan next year,” said sophomore Meghana Shamsunder.

Shamsunder said she is going to live on campus next year and is choosing to purchase groceries, cook in her dorm and eat out instead.

“I like the community atmosphere, like just going up to the dining halls and meeting friends … but after the tax and the variety of food, I was just like no, not going to do that next year.”

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