Ban Damage: MN State Update Page 4

Minnesota

State Update

An open letter to the Minnesota Legislature regarding a proposed tobacco tax increase, and related tobacco control issues.?
July, 2012
By Leonard Spencer.?
Exorbitant tobacco taxes are, after all, imposed despite the objections of smokers, and are enforced by a heavily-armed paramilitary police apparatus, and thus, by armed force. Or does the great state of Minnesota define an extortion racket differently than the rest of civilized humanity?? May every person who has ever loved life enough to fight for their inherent right to experience the only life they will ever live on their own terms hold this legislature in contempt of humanity, until such time as Minnesota legislators have cast rabid anti-smokers back into the shadows of the lunatic fringe from whence they came, and where they rightfully belong.
Open and Read the document.


MN: Sue Jeffers Announces Run for Ramsey County Commissioner – District 2. This seat covers all of the cities of New Brighton, Roseville, Little Canada, and parts of Mounds View, St. Anthony and Lauderdale.


Simply Right w/ Bob Davis & Sue Jeffers
Friday, May 20, 2011
7:00pm – 10:00pm
Tobies
404 Fire Monument Road
Hinckley, MN
Created By
Simply Right Conservatives, Rudy Takala
We are thrilled to have had Bob Davis & Sue Jeffers both agree to visit Simply Right! As most of you already know, Bob & Sue are hosts on KTLK 100.3 FM (http://www.ktlkfm.com). Please note that this is a Friday event and that it will be taking place less than a week before the legislative session ends here in Minnesota.
For continuing updates on Simply Right, go to http://www.rtakala.com


In case you’re looking for recent data about how successful your smoking ban laws have been in the Twin Cities area
June 27, 2009
You can find that information here:
or here:
336+ Twin City area establishments closed and counting. Smoking bans saved peoples’ lives alright, unless of course these 10,000+ unemployed lost their health insurance due to your “clean air laws”.
How significant of a role did government over-regulation play in our current economic meltdown:
Mark Wernimont
Watertown, MN. 55388


University of Minnesota/OSU Tobacco Control Study Flawed; Combining Data on Bars…
Fri May 29, 2009 10:39am EDT?
University of Minnesota/OSU Tobacco Control Study Flawed; Combining Data on
Bars and Restaurants Skewed Results
COLUMBUS, Ohio, May 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Ohio newspapers, radio and
TV news recently broadcast the results of a study performed at the University
of Minnesota School of Public Health with Elizabeth Klein, Assistant
Professor, Health Behavior and Health Promotion, Ohio State University as lead
researcher.? This study was funded by ClearWay Minnesota, a non-profit
organization that funds Minnesota tobacco control, and used employment data as
its sole economic indicator.? This study gained headlines in the media as “Ban
hurting business? No, study says.” (Columbus Dispatch, May 19, 2009, front
page).? All Headline News opened with “New research suggests that smoking bans
in bars meant to improve the environmental quality of indoor air doesn’t cause
job losses.”? (Note: No reference to restaurants).
What is not mentioned is the reason that this study was conducted.? According
to the Abstract from Ms. Klein’s study, “due to the perception of negative
economic effects on alcohol-licensed hospitality businesses, partial CIA
policies (those that provide an exemption for freestanding bars) have been
proposed as a means to reduce the risk of economic effects of comprehensive
CIA policies applied to all worksites.”). UWeekly, an OSU student run
publication, quotes Klein as saying “the places that made exemptions for bars
they weren’t significantly different from the places that provided no
exemptions for bars.”
Glaringly obvious even to a novice is that freestanding bars were supposed to
be the target of the study.? Even more obvious are these facts.
If this study was to determine if exemptions should be made for freestanding
bars, why were restaurants included?? Ms. Klein states in the study that NAICS
industry code data was obtained for bars (NAICS 7224) and restaurants (NAICS
7221).? If Ms. Klein received the data separately, why were they combined?
Perhaps it was because according to the latest NAICS on-line data for
Minnesota, restaurants outnumbered bars nearly 3 to 1.? It studied two major
cities, four other cities and four suburbs with combined total of 1,084 bars
and restaurants.? If these ten cities followed the Minnesota average, then
there were approximately 361 bars and 723 restaurants.
According to Statistical abstracts of the US, 2001, table 1263, there is a
national average of ten restaurant employees for every one bar employee.? That
means if each bar only had one employee, there would be approximately 361 bar
employees and 7,230 restaurant employees.? Again, restaurants were not the
target of this study, according to the Abstract, and yet they were included in
this study.? The effect of including restaurant employment data in this study
is that job losses from bars are completely overwhelmed by restaurant
employment data.
There was a very large study done in 2007 by Scott Adams and Chad D. Cotti,
(“The Effect of Smoking Bans on Bars and Restaurants: An Analysis of Changes
in Employment,” The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy: Vol.7: Iss. 1
(Contributions), Article 12.), whose methodologies were very closely followed
by Ms. Klein with one very large difference; the Adams and Cotti study
separated bars from restaurants.? They concluded “the bar industry is more
negatively affected by smoking bans than the restaurant industry. On the other
hand, analysis of the restaurant industry is consistent with many of the
aforementioned retail sales case studies, which find that smoking bans do not
seem to have an effect on business in the restaurant industry as a whole. The
lagged effects suggest that the negative bar effect occurs immediately and
persists over time…Dunham and Marlow (2000b), for example, found that bars
are predicted to be more than twice as likely to experience losses as
restaurants, a result that suggests potentially large differences in the
impact of smoking regulations on these two similar industries.”
Tobacco Control is well aware smoking bans have little effect on restaurants
while bars are negatively impacted.? So why were restaurants included in
Klein’s study?? According to Pat Carroll, President of the Buckeye Liquor
Permit Holders Association, “It’s obvious why it was done this way.? It’s to
distort the truth.? You can’t lump bars and restaurants together.? We have
entirely different customers and provide different atmospheres. We demand this
study be done again without restaurant data.” Pam Parker, BLPHA Board Member
and co-founder of Opponents of Ohio Bans asks “The problem is that this study,
timed quite nicely to be released just as we have SB 120 introduced to exempt
family owned bars in Ohio, has been widely distributed.? If the data from this
study is reexamined and finds that bars are hurt from smoking bans, will the
researchers go to similar lengths to see that proper retractions are printed
and headlined?”
President Obama’s March 9, 2009 Memorandum said, “The public must be able to
trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions.”
“I guess that doesn’t apply when it’s Tobacco Control and it hurts family
owned bars.? Imagine how our members feel that have been losing money since
enforcement began, they’re struggling to keep their doors open when they turn
on the TV or read in the paper that a study says they’re really not harmed by
the ban.? They’re livid,” said Carroll.
Related Web sites: www.thebarbiz.com and www.opponentsofohiobans.com
SOURCE? Opponents of Ohio Bans
Pat Carroll, +1-513-731-0123, or Pam Parker, +1-614-565-6560,
both of Buckeye Liquor Permit Holders Association & Opponents of Ohio Bans


Massive Tobacco Tax Increase by Congress Spells Even More Economic Disaster for Jobs and State Economies
Mon Jan 12, 2009
EDITOR’S NOTE: To see how much money your state stands to lose if the federal
excise tax on cigarettes and tobacco products is increased, please see the
included chart.
MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ — In an urgent message to Congress and
President-Elect Barack Obama, the National Association of Tobacco Outlets
(NATO) and two other national wholesale trade associations have taken out an
ad warning of “economic disaster” for state economies and American jobs should
tobacco taxes be raised to fund the expansion of the State Children’s Health
Insurance Program (SCHIP).
??? “The politicians in Washington who are pushing for a punitive 156 percent
increase in cigarette taxes and even higher tax increases on other tobacco
products will exacerbate the current deep recession through the loss of up to
117,000 u nion and non-u nion jobs and at least $1.8 billion annually in lost
revenues for the states,” said Tom Briant, NATO’s executive director.
??? The U.S. Labor Department reported just last week that the national
unemployment rate jumped to 7.2% with another 524,000 jobs lost in December
alone.? “Why would any member of Congress and President-Elect Obama support a
huge tax increase that will only serve to put another 117,000 Americans out of
work?” inquired Briant.
??? “During these recessionary times, and as Obama has publicly stated, the
government needs to do everything possible to protect and ‘save’ jobs plus
stabilize existing sources of revenue,” Briant said.? “Using tobacco taxes to
fund health care for the middle class would have just the opposite effect.”
??? Briant, whose organization represents tobacco retailers throughout the
U.S., said, “Unlike Wall Street financial firms, the retailers, wholesalers
and manufacturers of tobacco products, which employ almost 1.2 million
Americans, are not asking for a government bailout, but we are asking that our
chances for survival not be torpedoed by a huge tax hike in these turbulent
economic times.”
??? When cigarette prices rise due to tax increases, legal tobacco sales
decline.? Lower sales mean lower profits for tobacco retailers and
wholesalers, driving job losses.? As legal sales decline, the states collect
less revenue from both state tobacco excise taxes and sales taxes on these
purchases.? The states also lose income from annual payments they receive from
tobacco manufacturers through the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), reached
in 1998.? To date, states have received more than $8 billion in MSA payments
since 1998, but those payments are based on the number of cigarettes sold.? As
sales decline, MSA payments to the states decline.
??? “This tax increase will also give additional impetus to the illegal sales
of tax-free tobacco products on the Internet and from the black market, which
are already huge problems for law enforcement in many states,” Briant said.
“This tax hike will be a ‘bailout’ for the smuggling industry, but not for
legitimate small, family-owned retail and wholesale businesses.”
??? Briant noted that higher taxes also put the safety of retail and transport
employees at risk.? “Delivery truck drivers and retail store clerks are in
danger when criminals target higher-priced tobacco products the way gangsters
targeted alcohol during prohibition,” he said.? “It’s not uncommon to hear of
stores robbed only for the cigarettes — the cash register is left untouched.
??? “President-elect Obama also needs to be reminded that he promised during
his campaign not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year,”
Briant said.? “Yet, virtually every smoker in the country makes less than
$250,000 a year.? Clearly, this huge tax increase would be a violation of the
president-elect’s campaign promise.
??? “Congress and President-Elect Obama need to fund the expansion of SCHIP in
a responsible manner without putting another 117,000 Americans on the
unemployment rolls,” said Briant.
??? Contact Information:
??? Thomas A. Briant, Executive Director
??? National Association of Tobacco Outlets
??? 15560 Boulder Pointe Road
??? Minneapolis, MN? 55347
??? Office:? 1-866-869-8888
??? EDITOR’S NOTE:? The below table provides the estimated loss of state
excise tax revenue and MSA payments by state if the federal excise tax on
cigarettes and tobacco products is increased.
??? Estimated Losses To States If $.61 Federal Excise Tax Increase Passes
(dollars in millions)
??? State???????????????????????????????????????? Treasury Est??????? CBO Est
??? Alabama????????????????????????????????????????? 22.78???????????? 20.25
??? Alaska??????????????????????????????????????????? 6.64????????????? 5.91
??? Arizona????????????????????????????????????????? 43.34???????????? 38.53
??? Arkansas???????????????????????????????????????? 15.84???????????? 14.07
??? California????????????????????????????????????? 148.67??????????? 132.15
??? Colorado???????????????????????????????????????? 24.54???????????? 21.81
??? Connecticut????????????????????????????????????? 35.59???????????? 31.63
??? Delaware???????????????????????????????????????? 16.47???????????? 14.64
??? Florida????????????????????????????????????????? 69.14???????????? 61.46
??? Georgia????????????????????????????????????????? 33.47???????????? 29.75
??? Hawaii?????????????????????????????????????????? 10.35????????????? 9.20
??? Idaho???????????????????????????????????????????? 6.58????????????? 5.85
??? Illinois???????????????????????????????????????? 65.61???????????? 58.32
??? Indiana????????????????????????????????????????? 70.96???????????? 63.07
??? Iowa???????????????????????????????????????????? 35.59???????????? 31.63
??? Kansas?????????????????????????????????????????? 14.60???????????? 12.98
??? Kentucky???????????????????????????????????????? 26.55???????????? 23.60
??? Louisiana??????????????????????????????????????? 25.09???????????? 22.31
??? Maine??????????????????????????????????????????? 14.05???????????? 12.49
??? Maryland???????????????????????????????????????? 47.66???????????? 42.36
??? Massachusetts??????????????????????????????????? 60.56???????????? 53.83
??? Michigan???????????????????????????????????????? 90.74???????????? 80.65
??? Minnesota??????????????????????????????????????? 37.03???????????? 32.92
??? Mississippi????????????????????????????????????? 13.61???????????? 12.10
??? Missouri???????????????????????????????????????? 22.16???????????? 19.70
??? Montana?????????????????????????????????????????? 8.27????????????? 7.35
??? Nebraska????????????????????????????????????????? 9.29????????????? 8.26
??? Nevada?????????????????????????????????????????? 14.79???????????? 13.14
??? New Hampshire??????????????????????????????????? 19.83???????????? 17.62
??? New Jersey?????????????????????????????????????? 62.23???????????? 55.32
??? New Mexico??????????????????????????????????????? 8.75????????????? 7.78
??? New York??????????????????????????????????????? 149.09??????????? 132.52
??? North Carolina?????????????????????????????????? 36.52???????????? 32.46
??? North Dakota????????????????????????????????????? 4.89????????????? 4.34
??? Ohio??????????????????????????????????????????? 101.42???????????? 90.15
??? Oklahoma???????????????????????????????????????? 32.23???????????? 28.65
??? Oregon?????????????????????????????????????????? 25.66???????????? 22.81
??? Pennsylvania??????????????????????????????????? 106.92???????????? 95.04
??? Rhode Island???????????????????????????????????? 10.92????????????? 9.71
??? South Carolina??????????????????????????????????? 9.52????????????? 8.46
??? South Dakota????????????????????????????????????? 8.62????????????? 7.66
??? Tennessee??????????????????????????????????????? 52.78???????????? 46.73
??? Texas?????????????????????????????????????????? 196.08??????????? 174.30
??? Utah????????????????????????????????????????????? 8.33????????????? 7.41
??? Vermont?????????????????????????????????????????? 7.44????????????? 6.62
??? Virginia???????????????????????????????????????? 26.64???????????? 23.68
??? Washington?????????????????????????????????????? 38.61???????????? 34.33
??? West Virginia??????????????????????????????????? 15.99???????????? 14.22
??? Wisconsin??????????????????????????????????????? 57.59???????????? 51.19
??? Wyoming?????????????????????????????????????????? 3.90????????????? 3.47
??? Total???????????????????????????????????????? 1,973.93????????? 1,754.43
SOURCE? National Association of Tobacco Outlets
Thomas A. Briant, Executive Director, National Association of Tobacco Outlets,
+1-866-869-8888


Minnesota Public Radio story admits one year later statewide smoking ban eliminates business
November 15, 2008
Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association interim director Tony Chesak said it’s clear to him the ban is causing bars across the state to fail.
“I’d say, realistically, 200 to 300 licensed establishments, at least, have closed,” Chesak said. “I would think that would be a conservative number.”
Membership in the association dropped about 25 percent this year. Chesak said the promise of non-smokers frequenting bars more often because of the smoke free law hasn’t panned out.
Meanwhile, ClearWay MN (recipient of tens of millions of tobacco settlement dollars) spokesperson Kerri Gordon claims “…studies have found that smoking bans don’t hurt businesses in states that have bans in place…..”
It’s obvious that Gordon hopes we’ve all forgotten about this Clearway MN survey from 2006 that found smoking bans eliminate business in 7 out of 10 hospitality venues they polled…….oops it appears that facts are a stubborn thing Kerri………and ClearWay MN is caught lying to the public once again.
************************
Smoking ban has cleared the air, but businesses suffer
by Tom Robertson, Minnesota Public Radio
November 13, 2008
It’s been more than a year since Minnesota’s smoking ban went into effect in bars and restaurants across the state. There’s evidence showing the law has improved the health of thousands of workers in the hospitality industry.
But some bar owners say the smoking ban has devastated their business and cost the state jobs.
Bemidji, Minn. — Drive by any bar in the state and you’re likely to see a cluster of smokers puffing away outside. On a chilly afternoon outside the American Legion hall in Bemidji, military veteran Jerry Carpenter said he’s gotten used to stepping out for a smoke. But that doesn’t mean he likes it.
“It’s miserable,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter works part time at the Legion. He said the smoking ban has driven away business. Pull tab receipts are down and people who used to be regular customers don’t come around as often and they don’t stay as long. Carpenter said veterans especially, should have a right to smoke in their own club.
“They’ve served their country, and a lot of them are older veterans,”? Carpenter said. “They’re not going to stand outside in 35 below zero weather and smoke. I mean, they’ll sit at home and smoke.”
Bill RiceThe Bemidji American Legion has been smoke free longer than most bars in the state. That’s because Beltrami County passed a smoking ban ordinance a full two years before the state did. Club manager Bill Rice said the ban is largely to blame for cutting the club’s business in half.
“We were doing two and a half million in business in gross sales a year,” Rice said. “We’re down to a little over a million this year.”
Rice has had to cut three jobs at the Legion since the smoking ban took effect. He’s also had to figure out ways to attract new customers. The club opened its doors to non-members earlier this year, and that’s boosted food sales some. He’s added more happy hour specials and booked more dances to boost business.
As a non-smoker, Bill Rice said the one good thing about the ban is that he no longer faces a wall of smoke when he comes to work each day.
“Over the years of working here, you always breath it in,” Rice said. “And of course our ceiling tiles are better, our walls are better, you know. Everything’s better from a standpoint of cleanliness and not having to paint the walls and everything else, it’s a good sign for us.”
There’s no clear data yet to fully assess the economic impact of the smoking ban. Over the past year, Minnesota lost about 1,000 jobs in bars and restaurants. That’s significantly more lost jobs than the national average. But state employment analysts say it’s not clear whether the smoking ban was a factor.
Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association interim director Tony Chesak said it’s clear to him the ban is causing bars across the state to fail.
“I’d say, realistically, 200 to 300 licensed establishments, at least, have closed,” Chesak said. “I would think that would be a conservative number.”
Membership in the association dropped about 25 percent this year. Chesak said the promise of non-smokers frequenting bars more often because of the smoke free law hasn’t panned out.
“All the anti-smoking folks had said, you know, you get smoking out of your facilities and we’ll come in droves,” said Chesak. “Well, those droves didn’t come out.”
Supporters of the smoking ban say if bars are going out of business, it’s likely more to do with the souring economy than anything else.
Kerri Gordon is with the anti-smoking group ClearWay Minnesota. Gordon said there’s plenty of good health news after one year of the smoking ban.
She points to a University of Minnesota study of the health of bar and restaurant workers exposed to second hand smoke. The study found an 85 percent drop in the level of some cancer-causing chemicals in workers’blood after the ban.
A poll conducted in September shows Minnesotans support the statewide smoke-free law by an overwhelming 77 percent. Gordon said national studies have found that smoking bans don’t hurt businesses in states that have bans in place.
“We’ll be looking at economic data after we are able to get a year’s worth of data and compare it to previous years to be able to see if there has been an economic impact,” Gordon said. “We don’t think that there is going to be, based on the 20 other states that went smoke free before us.”
The latest statewide tobacco use study shows the smoking rate in Minnesota is down to 17 percent. That’s an historic low, and the fifth lowest smoking rate in the nation. The study was completed months before the state’s smoking ban took effect. Health officials say they expect the ban will drive that number even lower.


Majority of mob rules
June 11, 2008

Great and powerful motivation of the majority, influenced by millions in public funds “decided” to forget about individual rights and vote for a total smoking ban in their compound, Even though tobacco is taxed punitively and the majority benefits from the excise and? sales tax Tobacco is a terrible nuisance to the “sensitive and must be hidden away as to not infuriate the sensitive.
?
What a great community effort to demand conformity, The remaining sins should be as easy to knock over as the tobacco issue. Rape, murder,home robberies,assaults on person and property, cheating at paying taxes, abortion, illegal drug sales and its use, child abuse and speeding automobiles.
?
None one of these sins that do not conform to the majority were? voted on. As long as the mob is on a roll how about the banning of the non nuisance sins and do not even think about individual rights, Blanket majority rule works well in an oligarchy.
?
Archie Anderson
Coon Rapids Minnesota

Smoking Bans Are Major Contributor to Casino Revenue Losses

Minnesota smoking bans for instance were the catalyst for closing an unprecedented 200+ bars, restaurants, and bingo halls.
Nationwide and around the world the loss of businesses and jobs after smoking bans are implemented is staggering. Even though air quality testing by organizations like the American Cancer Society, Johns Hopkins, a Minnesota Environmental Health Department, British Medical Journal published contributors prove that secondhand smoke levels are 15 – 25,000 times SAFER than OSHA permissible exposure limits (PEL).
Meanwhile Nicoderm manufacturer Johnson & Johnson Company, whose private foundation RWJF funds the smoking ban movement, saw 40% 1st quarter 2008 revenue growth over their previous year.
To the average non-smoker it might appear that the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Non-Smoker’s Rights, the American Medical Association, countless research Universities around the country, etc. are lobbying our politicians for smoking bans for health reasons. However, upon some preliminary investigation it is clear that these non- profit, non-governmental organizations are backed by $446,000,000.00 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) which has direct ties to the Johnson & Johnson Company.
Currently, smoking cessation product sales just in the U.S. accounts for $500 million, but thanks to rent seeking smoking ban legislation; industry insiders expect those sales to climb to $4.6 billion annually by 2016.
###
June 9, 2008
Posted By Susan Torres
Staff Editor, CasinoGamblingWeb.com


We’re now at 197 closings:
?
http://cleanairquality.blogspot.com/2007/01/100-bars-and-restaurants-put-out-of.html
?
Congratulations council members & lawmakers, you’ve done more to destroy businesses and jobs here in Minnesota than at any other time in recent history.
Meanwhile the Nicoderm interests who funded the smoking ban agenda report an increase of 40% in 1st quarter profits.
http://cleanairquality.blogspot.com/2008/04/j-posts-40-percent-jump-in-1q-profitwow.html
?
Mark Wernimont
Watertown, MN.
June, 2008


A blogger’s quest: Where’s the database?
Apple Valley man wants taxpayers to ‘follow the money.’
May 15, 2008
FIRSTHAND ACCOUNT
To read about Kruse’s database quest, go to www.spacebeaglenotes.blogspot.com.
The federal government’s database is at www.usaspending.gov/.
The e-mail to the editorial writer had a catchy grabber of a greeting: “Dear Fellow Tax Slave,” wrote Todd Kruse, a 42-year-old Apple Valley man who blogs and runs a small public affairs/executive search firm.
A frequent critic of wasteful government spending, Kruse had a good question about a good idea: a searchable online database allowing taxpayers to track where state money is spent. The Minnesota Legislature approved such a database in 2007. Kruse thought it was supposed to be up and running by this summer.
So where is it?
The answer isn’t what he wanted to hear: There isn’t one. He’s still waiting for a good answer to another question: Why not?
Kruse’s quest led to e-mail exchanges with lawmakers, bureaucrats, tax activists and finally, the media. Calls from both Kruse and the editorial writer only muddied the waters. Kruse initially was told the database didn’t exist. But then a legislative aide said it did. The aide sent a link. Once it actually worked, it was quickly apparent this was not the right database. “From what I saw on this website this is simply a tool for the ‘takings coalition’ to find state money to apply for it is NOT a tool for taxpayers to see ‘where does our money go.’ What do you think?” e-mailed a frustrated Kruse.
The well-intentioned aide was indeed mistaken. Several phone calls later, the state Department of Administration confirmed Kruse’s fears. There is no database, and it’s not clear when there will be. An old state computer system, which is being updated, is not Internet-friendly. It’s not clear if the new computer system will include a spending database because the Legislature didn’t appropriate the $1 million to $1.5 million needed for it.
Back in Apple Valley, Kruse is rightly disappointed. The Internet offers taxpaying voters an unprecedented opportunity to hold government accountable for its spending. The federal government has a database similar to the one planned in Minnesota. Several states have quickly put up so-called “Google Government” databases. The pricetag in Texas? $310,000. “So Minnesota needs at least $1 million dollars but the State of Texas did essentially the same thing for only $310,000?” Kruse wrote in his blog. “Something is clearly wrong here and further justifies the need for spending transparency in government.”
Kruse’s database crusade is a worthy one. Legislators and bureaucrats, take heed. Minnesota should be leading the way– not dragging its feet — when it comes to government accountability.

Say goodbye to Grandma’s
While diners dug into their oversized onion rings and loaded quesadillas, some didn’t know that the sluggish economy was taking a big bite out of their favorite hangout, Grandma’s Saloon and Grill.
“I didn’t know it was closing, man,” said customer Chris Scribner. “That’s awful.”
Grandma’s, on the West Bank in Minneapolis, has been serving University of Minnesota students, and many others, for 27 years.
But the smoking ban, the nearby I-35W bridge collapse, and a few other setbacks, have eaten away at the restaurant’s profits. A sluggish economy has only magnified the losses.
“There’s less disposable income, I get that. Heck, all of us go out less,” said General Manager Hal Holmes.
Grandma’s is not alone lately. Linens-N-Things has announced it plans to close 120 stores nationwide, including one in Woodbury and one in Rochester.
The Home Depot plans to close its store in Cottage Grove and 14 others around the country.
Grandma’s is a Minnesota-owned company, a local tradition.
“I’m heartbroken, but I hope it can revive,” said customer Charles Scribner.
Holmes said several Duluth locations will remain open. But it’s too late for the Grandma’s in Minneapolis. The restaurant will close May 22.
“A Minneapolis icon, if you will,” Holmes said. “27 years is a long time.”

?

After the Smoke Cleared, Where Did All the Bingo Players Go?
April 24, 2008
By STEPHANIE STROM
Banning smoking at charity bingo games may have health benefits, but it is proving harmful to earnings.
In Minnesota, which adopted a statewide ban on smoking in all indoor workplaces in October, revenue from all charity gambling dropped nearly 13 percent in the last quarter of 2007, compared to the same quarter the year before, according to state officials. More than half of the drop — the equivalent of about $100 million annually — was attributed to the new law, they said.
Charlie Lindstrom, who runs the bingo nights at an American Legion post in Fergus Falls, Minn., said some of his former customers now drove to casinos on Indian reservations, where they can puff away, or across the border to Fargo, N.D., where veterans’ organizations are exempt from that state’s smoking ban.
On a good night, Mr. Lindstrom said, bingo at the post used to attract 50 to 75 players. Nowadays it is more like 30 or 40.
“It’s had a profound effect on us here,” Mr. Lindstrom said. “We’ve sponsored several baseball teams here in the past, but we can’t give as much now because the smoking ban has really reduced our revenue.”
Mr. Lindstrom is not alone. Managers of charity bingo games in California, New Jersey, New York and Washington State also say their states’ smoking bans have forced cutbacks in their budgets and in their support for various causes.
Few believe they can cultivate new nonsmoking players. They say smoking goes with bingo like peanut butter with jelly. Michael J. Surwill, bingo chairman at Elks Lodge No. 2501 in Ocean Springs, Miss., estimated that smokers outnumbered nonsmokers three to one at the lodge’s weekly game.
Last year, his bingo game produced $23,000 that supported a shelter for abused women, a drug awareness program and a camp for young cancer survivors, Mr. Surwill said, adding, “I’m sure we wouldn’t raise nearly that much if we banned smoking.”
Veterans’ organizations like the American Legion, fraternal groups like the Shrine and Moose clubs, local drum and bugle corps and churches have long depended on revenue from gambling, though it has been on the decline — and not solely because of smoking. A proliferation of casinos on reservations, changes in state gambling regulations and, now, a faltering economy have all played a role.
Some advocates of smoking bans said the costs of smoking to the state in terms of public health and productivity greatly outweighed the losses to charity. And some argue that the revenues will return in over the long run.
“Around the country,” said State Representative Thomas Huntley, Democrat of Duluth and a chief sponsor of Minnesota’s Freedom to Breathe Act, “whenever places have put in smoking bans, there is a six-month period where there is a drop in business in bars and restaurants, which is where this gambling takes place, and after that, it starts to rebound.”
But bingo managers in states where bans on smoking have been in effect longer say nonsmokers cannot make up for the decline in revenues from smokers. Instead, they say, their industry has undergone a wave of forced consolidation.
“We actually benefited from it, but for the wrong reason — my competition was forced to close,” said Clyde Bock, bingo manager for the Ruth Dykeman Children’s Center in Seattle.
When Washington’s ban on smoking took effect in 2005, Mr. Bock was able to partially enclose a porch where bingo players could still smoke, and he got it approved as a separate facility. “It cost me $8,000, but it protected my customer base,” he said. “Other games weren’t so lucky.”
Still, revenues are down. In 2006, the bingo operation at the children’s center, which then belonged to Big Brothers Big Sisters, generated about $325,000 a year, after expenses, and employed 17 people. A year later, under the auspices of the center, it produced $150,000 and employed 13 people.
“People underestimate the impact smoking bans will have,” Mr. Bock said.
Washington used to be home to 100 bingo halls that raised money for charity. Now there are fewer than 20.
Bret Rios, director of operations for the Blue Devils, a nonprofit drum and bugle corps in Concord, Calif., says his organization, too, has felt the effects. “A lot of people who play bingo like to smoke,” Mr. Rios said
Bingo is the largest source of revenue for the Blue Devils, which operates musical groups that involve more than 500 children each year. In 2005, bingo provided $1.2 million for the organization’s activities, covering more than half its costs.
Mr. Rios said bingo revenues were down about $10,000 a month since Contra Costa County imposed more stringent restrictions on smoking in 2006. Attendance at the nightly games has fallen to about 225 on average, compared to 300 or more before the ban took effect.
The Blue Devils had spent roughly $70,000 to create a specially ventilated separate room for smoking bingo players, which the county ordered closed under its new regulations. The organization replaced it with a covered patio in its parking lot, but smokers are not happy with it, Mr. Rios said.
“You’ve got to get up and down, up and down, to go out and smoke,” said Judy Aiello, 53, who has played bingo at the Blue Devils parlor for about 20 years.
Ms. Aiello said friends who used to play at the Concord center now went to American Indian-owned casinos or bingo parlors in the adjacent county, which has less stringent smoking restrictions than Contra Costa.
Ms. Aiello and other smokers also spoke of tensions between smokers and nonsmokers. Some nonsmoking bingo players have complained that the smell of smoke wafts in from outside, and the Blue Devils group was recently forced to place notices at entrances, reminding smokers that the county forbid them to light up within 20 yards of doorways.
“Why do all the nonsmokers have all the rights and the smokers have none?” said Rhonda Convino, 37, who smokes but has remained loyal to the Blue Devils games.
Mr. Rios said he felt caught between a rock and a hard place.
“I’m not a smoker, and I’m not fond of smoking,” he said. “I wouldn’t go to a place that smelled of smoke and spend a lot of time there. But they’ve gone way too far — you know, they’re even thinking about passing a law that would make it illegal to smoke in your own home.”
Told about that idea, Representative Huntley of Minnesota chuckled. “I don’t think I’ll take that idea up,” he said. “I’m still pulling the knives out of my back from the last time.”
Carolyn Marshall and Claudia Rowe contributed reporting.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/24/us/24bingo.html?fta=y


Charitable Gambling Impact Study
Presented by the Gambling Control Board
(In cooperation with the Commissioner of Revenue)
March 28, 2008
Gambling Control Board issues report on impact of statewide smoking ban on charitable gambling
31 March 2008
The Freedom to Breathe Act of 2007 (Minnesota Session Laws, Regular Session, Chapter 82) included a provision for the Gambling Control Board, in cooperation with the Commissioner of Revenue, to study the impact of a statewide smoking ban on lawful (charitable) gambling and to provide a report with recommendations to the Governor and the appropriate legislative committees.
The effective date of the statewide ban was October 1, 2007.
While the report covers only 3 months of actual lawful gambling activity since the ban was effective (October 2007 – December 2007), the data clearly shows a correlation that the statewide smoking ban has impacted charitable gaming receipts. The study also took into account other factors such as unemployment, gas prices, and proximity to other areas with no smoking ban (such as tribal casinos and cities bordering other states).
The Gambling Control Board remains neutral on the policy of the smoking ban but the findings and recommendations focus on the expected impact on non-profit organizations and their mission to raise funds for charitable purposes.
The report is based on the monthly tax filings by the licensed charitable organizations and the data analysis was provided by the Tax Research Division of the Department
? Prior to the statewide smoking ban, annual gross receipts from lawful (charitable) gambling were down an average of 2.5 percent per year for the last five years.
? For the fourth quarter 2007 (October through December), gross receipts from lawful (charitable) gambling were down 12.8 percent from the same period a year earlier. This represents the largest drop in receipts since lawful gambling was first regulated by the state in 1985.
? Actual gross receipts for lawful gambling for the fourth quarter 2007 decreased by over $40 million when compared to the same period a year earlier.
? Beginning in October 2007, there is a clear delineation from the monthly gross receipts “pattern” from the previous 5 years, indicating that the smoking ban appears to be a major factor in the decrease.
? For areas that did not already have a local ban on smoking, gross receipts for the fourth quarter 2007 dropped by 13.9 percent from the same period a year earlier.
? Areas that already had a smoking ban also showed a significant drop in gross receipts (down 6.3 percent). Is it difficult to understand how this could be related to the smoking ban.
? Analysis of the historical data suggests that the state-wide smoking ban itself caused state-wide gross receipts to fall by 7.5 to 8 percent more than they otherwise would have fallen.
? Annualized, a 7.5 to 8 percent decrease would equate to a loss of $95 to $105 million in gross receipts from lawful (charitable) gambling.
? The smoking ban’s impact on net receipts available for charitable purposes will exceed its impact on gross receipts, because allowable expenses are unlikely to fall by as much.
? State and local gambling taxes and fees will decrease roughly in proportion to the decrease in gross receipts. Although the shift in consumer expenditures may increase revenues from other taxes (such as the sales tax), that shift will not offset the drop in lawful gambling tax revenue.
? Other factors such as the business cycle and the price of gasoline are also correlated with gross receipts, but they cannot explain a decline as drastic as occurred in the fourth quarter of 2007.
? Lawful gambling sites in the immediate proximity to areas without a smoking ban have experienced a larger decrease in gross receipts.
? Licensed organizations will have a difficult time meeting expense limitations.
Recommendations
? The Gambling Control Board should continue to monitor the fiscal impact of decreasing gross receipts from lawful (charitable) gambling and provide quarterly updates to legislative leadership.
? Licensed organizations should review their current operations including proposed expenditures and charitable contributions and adjust accordingly.
? The Gambling Control Board should conduct a comprehensive study of current operations involving the conduct of lawful gambling, focusing on cost saving opportunities for licensed organizations.
? The legislature should consider either raising the expense limits imposed on licensed gambling organizations or allowing a temporary increase of the limits while charitable organizations evaluate their operations and fund raising capabilities.
? The legislature could consider additional forms of lawful (charitable) gaming.

FBI Investigating Hate Crime Committed Outside Bar
March 19, 2008
Darcy Pohland (WCCO)
The FBI is investigating whether a hate crime was committed outside a Fridley bar.
Troy Brazelton, 39, who is black, just emerged from a coma two weeks after he was severely beaten by a white man.
It all started with a game of pool and ended with Brazelton lying unconscious bleeding in a parking lot.
“He has just a wonderful spirit. The kindest, gentlest person you’d ever want to meet,” said Brazelton’s aunt Yvonne Brazelton-Singleton.
Brazelton was a regular at Two Stooges Bar And Grill in Fridley, Minn.
Like other loyal pool players, he felt comfortable there.
“Perfectly safe … and the people are just full of integrity,” said bar regular Jeri Engh.
“I’ve never had a problem with nobody here,” said bar regular Eddie Proctor.
So what happened to Brazelton this month took them by surprise.
“I couldn’t believe .. that someone would do that to someone else and … that (something like) that happened here,” said Engh.
“It was kind of a shock,” said Proctor.
Investigators and witnesses said Brazelton was playing pool when a group of white men started hurling racial slurs at him.
“So they went to the management … and management made this other group leave,” said Brazelton-Singleton.
A short time later Brazelton went out the door to smoke a cigarette and he was attacked in the parking lot.
Witnesses said he was then dragged through the parking lot and left between two cars.
“My nephew has suffered so much trauma — trauma to his brain, rib broken, he had internal bleeding, a host of other things,” said Brazelton-Singleton.
Thomas Scott Cretilli, 25, is charged with assault and faces possible federal hate crime charges.
“At first of course you’re outraged,” said Brazelton-Singleton. “You kind of hope in your mind that this kind of thing is done with, it’s over, but as we can see … it’s not.”
The alleged attacker told police he was calling one of his buddies the n-word in the bar, not Brazelton.
He said when Troy came out of the bar he felt threatened by him — even though Troy didn’t have a weapon and never touched him physically in any way.


Minnesota approaches milestone…nearly 200 bars and restaurants closed since joining the ill-advised Nicoderm funded smoking ban trend
March 18, 2008
Get the complete list here:
http://cleanairquality.blogspot.com/
Meanwhile Johnson and Johnson’s Nicoderm sales are anticipated to reach $4.6 billion annually thanks to rent-seeking legislation and ill-informed lawmakers’ decisions to implement special J & J / RWJF laws……er, I mean smoking bans.
Mark Wernimont

Restaurant chain files for bankruptcy
January, 2008
The company that owns Country Buffet, Ryan’s and Tahoe Joe’s brands filed for bankruptcy Tuesday.
Buffets Holdings Inc., which is based in Eagan, Minn., is one of the largest casual dining restaurant chains in the country. The company cited weak consumer spending for its financial troubles.
All 626 restaurants in 39 states are open for business as usual.

Minnesota bars and restaurants outside the metro area are already starting to experience revenue decline thanks to the statewide smoking ban

December 13, 2007

Minnesota’s statewide ban went into effect 11/1/2007, but already the losses are mounting.

The fact that we in MN have to get this news from a Wisconsin paper is very telling…….MN media is unwilling to report the truth about the ban’s damaging effects on our businesses, jobs and local economy.

Some excerpts:

Winona, Minn. — Winona bars are reporting a steep decline in business a month after a statewide smoking ban went into effect.

At the 500 Club, bartender Becky Brinkmeyer has noticed some regulars aren’t staying as long. Others aren’t coming in at all. “People used to come in here because they can’t smoke in their car or home,” Brinkmeyer said. “Now they can’t smoke here.”

Bar owners throughout the state are reporting a drop in business as a result of the smoking ban, and with winter coming, they fear it could get worse. Liquor stores seem to be enjoying some benefits…

The Winona American Legion has seen a similar decrease in sales, and not just alcohol. Bartender Barb Schewe says pull-tab charitable gambling sales are way down.

Smokers staying home?

The smoking ban may be a boon for liquor stores.

Third Street Liquor owner Ken Siebenaler said he’s seen a slight increase in sales but it’s too early to tell if it’s because more people are drinking at home rather than the bars.

Kato Liquor manager Aimee Larson said her store has also seen a slight increase. “I think we’ll see more of an increase as it gets colder,” she said.

The real test to for Winona bars will come in about six months, said Tom Overland, owner of The Bar and the Mankato Bar. He said both businesses have experienced about a 20 to 30 percent loss.

When city and county smoking bans closed down 138+ establishments in the Twin Cities area, the Nicoderm /RWJF funded activists at Non-Smoker’ Rights, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, the AMA, etc. told state lawmakers they needed to “level the playing field”. The special interest funded activists claimed that the only reason 138 metro establishments lost business was because the city and county bans forced patrons out state.

So now the Nicoderm funded statewide smoking ban is in place and guess what…….the playing field has been leveled……….all of Minnesota’s hospitality establishments across the state now get to equally share in the revenue losses………good work boneheads.

Minnesota lawmakers were swindled by the cheap talk and lies from the snake oil (Nicoderm) / Johnson & Johnson affiliated Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)……..sure is nice to see their product sales are on the rise…….what a shock.

Three DL bars close — owners blame smoking ban
Mike Nowatzki, The Forum, DL-Online
November 14, 2007
Steve Olmstead expected to see fewer customers at Bayview Bar in Detroit Lakes when Minnesota’s smoking ban went into effect Oct. 1. But what he thought would be a 15 percent to 20 percent drop in business turned out to be 70 percent to 80 percent, forcing him to close the bar at the end of October, he said. “I didn’t even have to order beer for the whole month. That’s how bad it was,” he said. Three bars in Detroit Lakes – Bayview, T.F. Boonies and Broken Wheel 3 – have closed since the state’s Freedom to Breathe Act took effect six weeks ago. Olmstead and Cody Parr, a co-owner of T.F. Boonies, which closed Oct. 31, both blamed the smoking ban for the demise of their businesses. The liquor license-holder of the Broken Wheel 3 could not be reached for comment.


Read More:? MN State Update Page 3

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