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News Link • TAXES: Local

New charge on dinner tab is in bad taste

• Chicago Tribune
Nothing succeeds in the travel industry like a bad idea. The latest hidden mandatory add-on is a "health" charge added to restaurant bills. As far as I know, this scam cropped up first in San Francisco, but you can count on it to spread.

The rationale for this one is to cover the employers\' mandatory contribution to the City\'s "Healthy San Francisco" health-coverage system. The charge actually is levied on employers, but at least some restaurants are adding a few dollars or percentage points to each customer\'s bill to cover this charge.

The restaurants\' excuse for assessing this charge separately is to let customers know how much they\'re paying for employees\' health coverage. That\'s the same excuse hotels use when they add "resort" or "housekeeping" fees to unsuspecting guests\' room bills. It\'s the same excuse airlines would use to exclude fuel surcharges from their advertised fares if the Department of Transportation would allow them. And it\'s sheer nonsense. Employees\' health insurance is no less of a cost of doing business than rent, property taxes, food costs, security services and all the other inputs businesses require to operate. To single out health care for a separate surcharge is unwarranted.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Powell Gammill
Entered on:

Can you imagine going into a modestly priced restaurant and getting a bill for a big meal for $1.67, plus a fee for this, a tax for that, a prorate for something else eventually totaling up to the cost leveled upon the business for all of the taxes, laws and regulations heaped upon th business by your governments?  Oh, yes.  And the revolution would soon follow.  Remember when the phone company started to show all of the fees and taxes imposed---CONgress put a stop to it pronto.

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