Business and Operations
New fees, old story
By Laura Aiken
New Brunswick government has slapped bar and restaurant owners with a bunch of
large increases to their licence fees in what surely feels like a smack in the
face during a tense economic climate.
I doubt it’s a coincidence that government stimulus spending
occurs in conjunction with government collections in other areas. We expect to
hear our federal and provincial governments crying poor and bleeding red ink
for the next indefinite time period while the economy tries to creep out of
negative growth cycles, but we don’t expect them to rob Peter to pay Paul. A
friend in the business commented to me recently that competing with the LCBO publication Food and Drink was like gleaning advertisers from an
adversary with bottomless pockets.
Unfortunately, these fee increases may be new to New
Brunswick restaurants, but the story of claw backs and new fees is as old as
the hills. What goes out in government financing must come back in from somewhere.
As a citizen, I have one hand on my back pocket just waiting for the government
to pick it in some form of new legislation that will cost me money. I don’t
believe this is because the government is a beast, but it’s unfair by design.
When they must spend money on one group, they need to earn it back from
another, and such is the juggling act of budgets. The fallout is just so
unfortunate and definitely unjust. For every hand helped up another is
slipped through a sweaty palm. I’d just like to know the federal and provincial
government’s logic. Sometimes, as in the case of New Brunswick, restaurant and
bars just don’t look like good hands to let go of and many will likely suffer
the fallout in the form of lost jobs, and even worse, lost dreams.