The city council in my former home city of East Lansing, Michigan — home to Michigan State University — has voted to allow the operation of food trucks in the city. They did this, of course, over the objection of brick and mortar restaurants who want the government to protect them from competition.
A policy resolution passed with a 4-0 vote by East Lansing City Council Tuesday evening, allowing for the addition of two food trucks to operate in the downtown area. The trucks would have to apply for a $1,800 concessionaire’s license, renewed annually for $1,700.
“Food truck popularity is growing, so we’re responding to that demand,” Community and Economic Development Administrator Lori Mullins said…
However, in researching whether to bring food trucks into East Lansing, the city received many responses from local restaurateurs opposed to the resolution.
Aaron Weiner, general manager of Buffalo Wild Wings, 360 Albert Ave., is one of those opposed to allowing food trucks in the area. Weiner feels the license fee for food trucks is inequitable to what brick and mortar restaurants have to pay in property taxes for the same location.
The cost of a license fee is estimated to be about five times more than what a restaurant would pay to operate in the same 40-square-foot location, but Weiner said the comparison was unfair.
“We’ll be competing with someone who doesn’t share in many of the costs that we do,” he said. “It’s a very hot issue nationwide in the restaurant business right now for good reason. There’s not a single restaurant owner in the downtown area who thought this would be fair.”
Yeah, imagine that — those who don’t want competition that might decrease their sales think it’s not fair. We should have outlawed Amazon.com a long time ago, obviously, to spare Barnes and Noble the unfairness of having to compete with a company that has lower overhead. Rent-seek much?