Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) and the California Restaurant Association held a roundtable discussion this afternoon with local restaurant owners at Encinitas’ Roxy Restaurant and Ice Cream. They discussed numerous concerns raised by owners about the state’s business climate that are making it more difficult for them to stay open and keep prices reasonable for their customers.
“Small businesses such as local restaurants are the heart and soul of our economy, and it’s important that all levels of government take their concerns into account when crafting policies that affect their bottom line,” said Bates. “The message I received today from local owners is that continual cost increases will inevitably force them to pass these costs on to their customers, hire less people or close their doors. It’s a message that I hope more elected officials will heed as we consider additional business mandates next year.”
Among the many topics discussed today included a proposal to again increase the state’s minimum wage, the rise in health care costs, energy rate hikes and new vacation and sick leave mandates. While Governor Jerry Brown recently vetoed legislation that some owners believed would have raised costs like expanded family leave, he did sign other bills such as Senate Bill 350 that could increase energy rates even more in the future.
Shoja Naimi, who owns Roxy Restaurant and Ice Cream, remarked that the cumulative impact of existing laws and regulations makes it difficult for his restaurant to stay in business.
“I enjoy serving my customers with the best service at the lowest prices possible,” said Naimi. “However, turning a profit in the restaurant industry is very difficult, a reality of which some government officials seem to be unaware. When you factor in all the price increases and costs we’re facing, we can ill afford another cost increase anywhere else. Senator Bates gets it and I hope more of our elected officials will take our concerns into account as they debate additional laws in the future.”
According to CNBC's "America's Top States for Business 2015," California ranks 49th among the 50 states for the cost of doing business, 50th for business friendliness and 46th for an affordable cost of living.
Senator Bates speaks with North County restaurant owners at Encinitas’ Roxy Restaurant and Ice Cream.
Photo Credit: Office of Senator Patricia Bates