Monday, May 30, 2011

Meanwhile, in the statehouses...

While you’ve been working to keep your restaurants alive, lawmakers in at least two states have been trying to help. But the outcome of their efforts are as different as Michael Jordan the restaurateur and Michael Jordan the sports superstar.

First, the laudable effort: In Louisiana, the state House of Representatives is expected to consider a measure that would give restaurants a 4% rebate on purchases of produce and vegetables from farms within the state.

The measure, which has already passed the Senate, is a brilliant way of helping everyone in the supply chain. Farmers will theoretically benefit from stepped-up demand, while restaurateurs get a significant discount at a time of escalating commodity prices. Meanwhile, the measure encourages eateries to feature the ingredient for which Louisiana is famous, adding some appeal to what’s arguably the most popular culinary-tourism destination in the country.

Now, the flip side: Utah, in a fit of reactionary craziness, has passed a law that encourages restaurants and other businesses to accept gold and silver coins instead of greenbacks. The precious metals would be worth their weight, not their face values. For instance, a $10 gold coin would be valued at the current per-ounce trading price for gold, not $10.

That means a restaurant would have to keep a scale on hand and be completely versed in prevailing gold and silver rates.
The rationale for the new law? Tea Party members and sympathizers say the measure will preserve the state’s economy when U.S. currency is rendered valueless by the imminent federal collapse.

That sentiment was enough to get the law passed and on the books.

What a relief that must be to restaurant operators in Utah.

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