Taxes, immigration, wages, and other issues that affect restaurant operations have been at the center of political campaigns across the country. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) summarizes what’s on the line for restaurant operators in Tuesday’s midterm elections.
The direction of pro-restaurant policy: Who gets elected Tuesday will be a major factor in determining what happens next on some critical for restaurateurs, including immigration reform, changes to the Affordable Care Act, tax reform, and minimum wage issues.
Wage mandates: Questions on whether to raise the minimum wage will be on ballots in five states and three cities. Statewide increases are before voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. A non-binding ballot question to gauge public support for an increase is on the ballot in Illinois. Questions on wage mandates are also on the ballot in three California cities: Eureka, Oakland, and San Francisco.
Paid leave: Massachusetts voters will decide whether a proposal to require businesses with more than 11 employees to provide an hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked should become law. The proposal is of particular concern to the state’s restaurateurs because it would allow employees to take leave in one- and two-hour increments. The Massachusetts Restaurant Association, with support from the National Restaurant Association, has been leading a campaign to educate voters about the potential costs of a paid leave mandate.
New taxes: Proposition E in San Francisco would add a two-cent-per-ounce tax to sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks sold in the cities. The tax would apply to canned and bottled beverages as well fountain drinks. Measure D in Berkeley, California, would place a one-cent-per-ounce tax on distributors of sugar-sweetened drinks.