MN Hospitality Advocate

Taxes and Fees Anticipated in Coming Session

Posted in General Advocacy, Lodging Issues, Restaurant Issues, State Laws, State Rules by hospitalityminnesota on November 9, 2009

I just finished a meeting with several Minnesota trade association executive directors earlier today. As we went around the table to discuss issues of key significance we anticipate in the coming session, it is clear that taxes are at the forefront.

It could be┬áproperty taxes; expansion of the sales tax; a tax on restaurants and lodging to fund the Vikings Stadium; protection of local option lodging tax or a liquor tax. If not a tax, then an increase in fees is anticipated. It is the┬áconsensus of the trade associations’ chief staff officers that business will face an onslaught of revenue raisers that could amount to job killers.

Equally as sobering, many industries anticipate additional regulatory burdens, at precisely the time when regulatory oversight needs to be reasonable to allow for growth and job creation. “It amazes me how legislators can talk about job growth and its importance one instant and then immediately talk about taxes, fees and regulations that kill jobs,” said one Association executive.

David Siegel, CAE, IOM
Minnesota Restaurant, Lodging and Resort & Campground Associations

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Democratic House Leadership Releases Health Care Bill

Posted in General Advocacy, Health Care Reform, Lodging Issues, Restaurant Issues, Uncategorized by hospitalityminnesota on October 31, 2009

House Democratic leadership released its new version of health care reform Thursday, with debate to begin on the House floor next week. A vote on the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962) is possible next Friday, Nov. 6, but Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has also advised representatives that votes could be possible on Nov. 7, 9 and 10.

The National Restaurant Association remains focused on a small business exemption, part-time worker exclusion, protection of ERISA, a 90-day grace period for new hires, as well as a favorable modification of the definition of a “full-time employee” from someone who works more than 30 hours per week on average, to someone who works more than 390 hours in a calendar quarter (13 weeks). We have developed a summary analysis of the new House bill which provides further information on these areas of focus.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sent a public option provision to the Congressional Budget Office for scoring this week. It will take at least another week before he will receive a response and be prepared to release the Senate text. Leader Reid does not yet have 60 votes for a bill and conversations continue with moderate Democrats about the bill.

David Siegel, CAE, IOM
Minnesota Restaurant, Lodging and Resort & Campground Associations

Legislative Agenda – We Play Defense

Posted in Lodging Issues, Resort Issues, Restaurant Issues, State Laws, Tourism Issues, Uncategorized by hospitalityminnesota on October 26, 2009

With the state facing a projected $7 billion budget deficit, and the DFL party handily in control of both the House and Senate, it’s likely that most business groups will be playing defense this coming legislative session.

While we would like to achieve a sales tax exemption on capital equipment, or employee meals, for example, it’s highly unlikely given that the state has no money.

We’ll be firming up this legislative agenda in the next several weeks as we prepare for our new session in February. The Minnesota Restaurant Association has gathered feedback through a series of regional meetings and will be conducting a legislative survey of members shortly.

The Minnesota Lodging Association has been working closely with the Minnesota Association of CVBs on lodging tax issues, which appear to be its key issue in the session ahead.

The Minnesota Resort and Campground Association is looking at issues such as vacation home rentals, shoreland management, school levies and property tax rates.

David Siegel, CAE, IOM
Minnesota Restaurant, Lodging and Resort & Campground Associations

Associations Provide 2009-10 Annual Law Review

Posted in General Advocacy, Lodging Issues, Resort Issues, Restaurant Issues, State Laws, State Rules by hospitalityminnesota on September 7, 2009

Wow, the 2009-2010 Annual Law Review is now complete and has been sent to all Association members. This 148-page reference is the bible of laws and regulations affecting Minnesota’s hospitality industry. Topics covered include:

  • OSHA requirements
  • Minimum wage and tip credit
  • Proper employee termination
  • Lodging tax law
  • Health laws and codes
  • Sales tax fact sheets
  • State versus Federal statutes
  • Overtime
  • Much more

As a hospitality operator, this review can literally save you thousands of dollars in fines and headaches. There is no more comprehensive overview of both the federal and state laws that impact you every day.

You can access the law review with your member login. If you can’t remember your login, please contact Carrie Burinda at (651) 925-4016.

David Siegel, CAE, IOM
Minnesota Restaurant, Lodging and Resort & Campground Assocations

National Restaurant Association Launches Health Care Site

Posted in Lodging Issues, Resort Issues, Restaurant Issues, Uncategorized by hospitalityminnesota on September 4, 2009

As we’ve conducted sessions around the state, it’s clear that health care reform is very much on the mind of small business owners. They are fearful they will be mandated to provide coverage, or face penalties if they do not. Not a one that we’ve talked to doesn’t want to provide the coverage, but the issue is cost.

To gain more information on key health care principles for the restaurant industry, see the National Restuarant Association’s new site at http://www.restauranthealthcarereforminfo.com/page.asp?content=startpage&g=nra_hcare

David Siegel, CAE, IOM
Minnesota Restaurant, Lodging and Resort & Campground Assocations

PCI Compliance and Data Truncation

Posted in Lodging Issues, Resort Issues, Restaurant Issues, Uncategorized by hospitalityminnesota on September 4, 2009

We received a call this month from a restaurant operator who is facing a class action lawsuit for failing to remove the expiration dates from the credit card receipts he provided to patrons. This is a very serious situation. A reminder here to all restaurant, lodging and resort and campground operators — your credit card receipts must truncate the number (revealing only the last four) and cannot contain expiration dates.

Your point of sale system vendors can likely help you with this conversion if you are not presently in compliance. Our advice is to get on this right away. Check the recently mailed Annual Law Review for more information about PCI compliance and credit card data. The Law Review can also be viewed online at our member website, www.hospitalitymn.org in the government affairs section.

David Siegel, CAE, IOM
Minnesota Restaurant, Lodging and Resort & Campground Assocations