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Dori: New council regulations will send Seattle restaurants packing

A server at a Seattle restaurant. (AP)

I’ve told you often that we are still in an economic bubble. These are good, solid economic times, especially in the Puget Sound area. But Seattle restaurants are getting killed by city council right now.

In its effort to be the most progressive, socialist city council in the country, the council has established new rules for hotels. One of these rules is that hotels need to pay 100 percent of their employees’ health insurance. The language is so bizarre in this legislation. It also applies to “ancillary hotel businesses.” That means a restaurant attached to or in the lobby of a hotel now has to follow these new rules.

The owner of a Seattle restaurant wrote a scathing letter to the city council because one of her shops is in the lobby of a hotel. She pointed out that all of her employees are in their 20s and healthy; they never need or use their health care. She said that when her lease is up, she will move out of Seattle.

Every time I turn around I’m paying a new tax for a sign permit or an awning or a table outside, B&O tax, sugar tax, a myriad of licenses, elevator permits, health permits, higher property taxes that are passed on in my triple net, etc. etc. … My lease term is coming up in February at the Belltown Inn and I WILL leave before I change my excellent benefit Structure. YOU go tell my employees in all three of my shops that they will no longer get their summer profit sharing check because now I will instead be paying 100% instead of 75% of ALL of my employees’ insurance they never use anyway because they are young and healthy. All because our Belltown shop rents from a hotel we have NOTHING to do with. We will move somewhere else outside of the incorporated city.

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Another of the longtime Seattle restaurants, 13 Coins, is connected to a hotel from one door. Now they are beholden to these new rules and do not even know if they can stay open. They told Q13 News that they’re taking an immediate $200,000 hit. It is only the connection to the hotel that lumps them into this law; other restaurants on the same street are not subject to the same regulations.

Can you imagine the stupidity of that? That’s what happens when you elect people like our city council members. Many of them have not spent one second of their adult lives working in the private sector. They have no idea what it’s like to run a business. They have no idea what it’s like to get flooded with the taxes that businesses face, and deal with the mountain of paperwork.

So now, all of these people who know nothing about the private sector economy pass this ridiculous law. These Seattle restaurants are teetering on the brink when we have one of the best economies of all time, so what do you think is going to happen when the economy inevitably goes south? And it always does — economies run in cycles.

The city council can get away with this kind of thing when we’re in this economic bubble, but when the bubble inevitably bursts and the economy takes a downturn, no city in the country will be devastated more than Seattle.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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