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New State Law Ends Public Reporting of Restaurant Revenues

1 min read

The Arkansas General Assembly, in a move generating little publicity, last month enacted Act 1102, which exempts local option taxes, also called hotel-motel-restaurant or HMR taxes, from the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

And that, Readers, means that Arkansas Business and other publications can no longer bring you lists of the top-selling restaurants in central Arkansas and elsewhere around the state. That’s because we calculate restaurant revenue based on those taxes, which, where adopted under local options, are paid to cities’ advertising and promotions commissions or visitors’ bureaus. They previously had been subject to the FOI.

You can thank state Rep. Micah Neal of Springdale, owner of Neal’s Café, who politely but firmly said that “it’s nobody’s business what individual businesses’ gross sales are every month.”

“They’ve threatened to pass a hamburger tax up here where I’m from for years, and I don’t want my gross sales in the paper where all my neighbors and friends can say, ‘Oh, Micah made this much money this month.’” He said other restaurateurs felt the same way.

Neal notes that the tax totals are still available.

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