BEVERLY - Seven months after they were granted the authority by the Legislature, one in five Massachusetts communities has opted to boost its local meals tax, adding 15 cents to every $20 restaurant tab and generating several million dollars to bolster city and town budgets.
Since the new year, Gloucester, Burlington, Lee, and now Beverly have enacted the additional 0.75 percent tax, with Beverly the 73d community to do so. And if their experience is like those in the first wave of communities to enact the tax last fall, the new levy should be even more lucrative than hoped.
Most of those early adopters, from Cambridge to Taunton, collected more money than predicted for October, the first month diners were subject to the higher rate. The state Department of Revenue estimated that Boston would garner about $1.4 million a month, but in October it hauled in $1.5 million. In Medford, the city took in $42,760, doubling the state’s projection.