Virginia Tech should collect town taxesWe can all be part of the same team?
Blacksburg for years has wanted Virginia Tech to collect the town meals and lodging taxes on campus. University officials have stridently refused, usually unwilling even to discuss it. Now, however, a few campus food sellers have started collecting the meals tax, making this an ideal time for the school do the right thing.
As long as Tech holds out, it adds a little bit to the sense that it is separate from the town, not a full partner with the people who live here year round. With this small effort, it could more fully invest in the community. It could say, "Yes, we are all part of the same team." [link]
My first thought, when I read that, was: Uh, no we can't.
These guys wanted Virginia Tech to collect taxes that should be collected by contractors doing business with Virginia Tech students, visitors, and faculty? In what statute is that authority granted (or mandated)?
It turns out, I - the legal scholar - was right. Virginia Tech has no such authority:
Va. Tech declines to collect taxes on dining and lodgingHow did these people - "Blacksburg officials" and the mental giants at the Times - miss the obvious? You can't just accept - or dispense - authority to tax people simply on a whim and the notion that it would be a good idea.
The college said state law doesn't direct it to collect local taxes, so it can't do so.
By Tonia Moxley, Roanoke Times
That's the short version of a long answer Virginia Tech President Charles Steger gave this week to a request from Blacksburg officials that the university collect town taxes at on-campus dining and lodging facilities.
"Unfortunately, Virginia Tech is not in a position where the university can comply with the town's request," Steger wrote in a letter dated Oct. 1 but delivered to the town this week.
Tech officials have said the university's legal counsel has advised that, because state law does not explicitly direct the university to collect local taxes, the university is prohibited from doing so. [link]
There are these thingies called laws, people ...