Asking The American Restaurant Owner: Do You Think A “Tax-Free Lunch Plan” Would Improve Business And The Economy?

September 13, 2011 by Josh Buscay

One of the best parts of my job is that I get to cruise through the current events and news affecting our economy. Admittedly, although sometimes our current economic news is depressing, I look forward to seeing what small business owners have to say about the situation and how we can improve things heading into the future.

That being said, as I was perusing the Small Business News today, I came across a blog written by Shashi Bellamkonda, director of social media and PR at Network Solutions, proposing a tax break for frequent restaurant-goers that would both stimulate the economy and create jobs.

Shashi proposes a “tax-free lunch plan” for taxpayers spending more than $1,000 at restaurants in 2011. The amount could be completely written off by the taxpayer, so long as they provide receipts documenting the deductions for their tax return.

He backs up the proposal with facts. According to his research, the national restaurant industry has a total economic impact of more than $1.7 trillion. Every dollar spent in restaurants equates to $2.05 spent in the general economy. Given the data, this proposal for “tax-free lunch” may hold some weight in improving the plight of many restaurant owners’ declining sales over the last few years.

While President Obama and Congress have passed bills like the 2009 “Cash for Clunkers” program, which reportedly saved 42,000 jobs, industries like the restaurant and hospitality arena have continued to see fewer and fewer people frequenting their favorite eateries.

At Laughlin, we have several restaurant owner clients. This proposal for writing off restaurant expenses in 2011 got my wheels turning as to what those clients would have to say about this idea. Online coupon programs like Groupon and Living Social have taken off like wildfire, and often offer deals for dining out. Why wouldn’t this “tax-free lunch plan” work the same way?

With our debt ceiling out the roof and jobs steadily declining, it is time that we come up with solutions to stimulate this economy, create revenue, and offer incentives to the American taxpayer. Our small business owners are the backbone of this economy, and without small family-owned restaurants, we’ll only be left with the big name corporate restaurants and fast food chains. Is that what we want for our America? Do we still have a sense of what the American entrepreneur looks like anymore?

  • What are your thoughts on the “tax-free lunch plan” proposed by this blogger?
  • Will this help or hurt our economy?
  • What viable changes need to be made in order to support American business owners today?

We’d like to hear what you think about

Read Shashi’s full proposal here.