Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Food fight

My newspaper column this week is about the Arkansas Travelers supposed failure to pay the local hamburger tax for over 30 years. Like many good stories, it wasn’t exactly that outrageous. The city board’s action in 2003 to clarify which businesses must pay the tax shows that there was a question, and gives credence to Bill Valentine’s claim that he was not required to contribute.

It’s something of a local story, though you need to see the new ballpark in North Little Rock. It is a tremendous source of pride. In fact, that park is the home of a somewhat upscale Italian restaurant bearing Bill Valentine’s good name. Now, this entire issue is real sensitive to some local restaurant operators and one got in my face wondering how the city can build a business that will compete with existing eateries.

I may be smart, but that question is way above my IQ. Bill Valentine has that kind grandfatherly quality, but don’t believe it. He can be a pretty tough customer. The food business has a very tight margin and it is very competitive. It is highly taxed.

Restaurant operators are an anxious bunch and I would be mad if the local government put a competitor into business with a brand new place.

(Broadcast June 5, 2007)

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