News

A Message to Chicago's Businesses 

Thursday, June 21, 2012 1:57:38 PM

 

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Dear Friend,

Since becoming Mayor, I have heard from many businesses about the maze of red tape they have to navigate in order to get started and growing.  Too many business owners believe that City Hall is an obstacle to growing their businesses and creating jobs.  When I took office, I pledged to make government more effective by delivering better services for a lower cost.  Last month, my administration made a down payment on this commitment when the City Council passed an ordinance to reduce the number of business licenses by 60 percent.  This month, I launched the first in a series of inspections reforms that will reduce the number of required inspections visits, modernize the scheduling of inspections, make inspectors more consistent, and increase inspectors' focus on higher-risk buildings and businesses.

 

My reforms begin with new restaurants.  This month, I am proud to introduce a new Restaurant Start-up Program that will simplify and streamline the process for getting a restaurant started in the city, making it easier for restaurant owners to focus on attracting customers and hiring workers.  To learn more about this new program, visit www.cityofchicago.org/restaurant.  This fall, we will cut the number of inspections visits for all restaurants by improving coordination and eliminating redundant inspections.

 

Over the course of the coming six months, my administration will implement addition reforms that will reduce the burden of inspections for all businesses while preserving health and public safety.  Business owners like yourself should focus on your customers, not City Hall, and one of my top priorities as Mayor is to get government out of the way of growing your businesses and creating jobs in our neighborhoods.

 

In developing these reforms, my administration heard from many of you in business roundtables across the city.  Let's keep working together to ensure that Chicago remains the best place in the world to start and grow a business.

 

Sincerely,

 mayor signature

 Mayor Rahm Emanuel

 

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Anheuser-Busch InBev's battle continues over stake in Chicago distributor (Excerpt) 

Monday, June 18, 2012 5:47:00 PM

Source: Just Drinks

James Wilmore

13 June 2012

Anhesuer-Busch InBev could be forced to sell its 30% stake in its largest distributor in Chicago, as a long-running legal battle enters a new chapter next week.

A hearing is due to be held by the Illinois Liqour Control Commission next Wednesday (20 June), which could see Chicago distributor City Beverage have its licence revoked, unless A-B InBev sells its stake in the firm. The case dates back to 2010 when City Beverage went up for sale and A-B InBev attempted to take full ownership of the distributor.

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Illinois Governor Approves $1 Tax on Pack of Cigarettes 

Friday, June 15, 2012 2:36:41 PM
Quinn signs package of laws intended to save Medicaid
CSP Daily News |

CHICAGO -- Governor Pat Quinn on Thursday signed a $1-per-pack cigarette tax increase into law as part of a package of reforms that he said is intended to rescue the state's Medicaid system from the brink of collapse and make the program sustainable for the future.

The cigarette tax currently stands at 98 cents per pack.

Pat QuinnThe series of new laws reaches the governor's goal of $2.7 billion in Medicaid savings, and also includes $1.6 billion in Medicaid spending reductions. The legislation targets fraud and abuse in Medicaid, reduces rates for providers and decreases the burden of smoking on the Medicaid system through the tax increase, he said, which will also prevent children from smoking. The new laws also provide new federal funding for hospitals, and end the long-time practice of balancing the budget by pushing Medicaid bills into the next fiscal year.

Healthcare advocates hailed the cigarette tax increase as an important public health measure.

Before the bill reached the governor's desk, Republicans had condemned the tax increase, sponsored by State Senator Jeff Schoenberg (D), because of worries it will drive Illinois smokers across the border to buy lower-tax cigarettes on most sides of the state, said a Post-Tribune report.

Bill Fleischli, executive vice president of the Illinois Association of the Convenience Stores told CBS Chicago that he fears customers will travel to Wisconsin, Indiana and even Missouri to stock up on cheaper cigarettes.

The price difference would be most pronounced along the Missouri border, where cigarettes would be $1.81 less per pack than Illinois. Indiana cigarettes would be taxed at a rate that is 98.5 cents per pack lower than Illinois.

But even with an Illinois tax increase, Wisconsin taxes cigarettes at a higher rate: $2.52 per pack in state taxes alone.

The new tax increase makes the total taxes on a pack of cigarettes sold in Chicago $5.67 and $4.99 in suburban Cook County.

"The tax does serve the purpose of pricing some people out of the market, indeed," Schoenberg told The Chicago Tribune.

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I'm here to help small business start up and grow: Emanuel 

Friday, June 15, 2012 2:33:10 PM

By: Rahm Emanuel June 15, 2012


For small-business owners, the task of starting, operating and growing their businesses is often the culmination of a life dream. But red tape too often entangles these businesses and puts these dreams at risk, leaving many small-business owners viewing City Hall as an obstacle, not a resource for their success. Instead of creating jobs, entrepreneurs spend their time and resources navigating bureaucracy.

When I became mayor, I committed to delivering better city services at a lower cost and to making City Hall a dependable partner to Chicago's small businesses. Last month, my administration made a down payment on this commitment when the City Council passed an ordinance to reduce the number of business licenses by 60 percent. A month later, I am launching the first round of inspections reforms that will reduce the number of required inspections visits, modernize the scheduling of inspections, make inspectors' processes more consistent and increase focus on higher-risk buildings and businesses.

By requiring an array of inspections by as many as nine departments, city government has made itself an impediment to the success of small businesses. Smart and timely inspections are critical for public safety and health, but under the current system they too often impose an unnecessary burden due to challenges in scheduling, the large number of inspection visits required, confusion about requirements and inconsistency among inspectors.

My reforms will begin with restaurants—one of Chicago's leading job creators and responsible for nearly 10 percent of the jobs in the city. More than 40 percent of existing restaurants face two or more inspections annually, while some receive as many as six. Meanwhile, new restaurants endure as many as 20 inspections to get started. Two-thirds of new restaurants fail at least one of their initial inspections.

To help these job creators get started and grow, my administration is launching the Restaurant Startup Program.This new program will make City Hall a partner by guiding these new businesses through the startup and inspections process from start to finish. First, the program streamlines the application process and ensures new restaurant owners have all of the support and information they need every step of the way. Second, it cuts the number of inspection visits for new restaurants in the program by as much as half through improved coordination and a team-based approach. Third, the program helps new owners pass their inspections by offering pre-inspection consultations and inspection checklists.

Next, starting in the fall, and based on the lessons learned from this program, my administration will reduce the number of inspection visits for all restaurants by improving coordination and eliminating redundant inspections. Finally, we will modernize the way the city schedules inspections. Today, the Department of Buildings schedules inspections through a team of dispatchers, whose full-time jobs are to schedule inspections and manually send confirmation emails to each customer. By tapping financing from the Innovation Loan Fund that I created in our last budget, we will develop an automated system that allows businesses to schedule inspections via phone and the web. The system will provide immediate confirmation of the inspection date and time and send reminders to the business owner as that date approaches.

Much work remains to be done before Chicago's inspections system is worthy of a world-class city. In the coming months, I will implement additional reforms to make inspections simpler, smarter and better for public safety. My administration will continue to make City Hall more of a partner to entrepreneurs while preserving public safety. The small businesses of Chicago deserve nothing less.



 

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Emanuel wants to streamline inspections for restaurant start-ups 

Thursday, June 14, 2012 4:29:33 PM

 By John Byrne, Chicago Tribune reporter

June 14, 2012

New Chicago restaurants will have fewer inspectors from City Halldarkening their doors in a move Mayor Rahm Emanuelsaid is designed to help the businesses get off the ground.

It's the latest push to cut government red tape from the mayor, who says he wants to make the city more business-friendly.

Last month he cut the number of business licenses in Chicago by about two-thirds. And last fall he pushed a self-inspection system for "low risk" food establishments like grocery stores, corner shops and some gas stations.

On Wednesday, Emanuel criticized inspection procedures that he said too often leave restaurant owners scrambling to fix things so they can open their doors and start making money.

"When you start a restaurant, you're paying rent. You may not be open, but you're paying rent," Emanuel said after meeting with restaurateurs at a cafe in the Little Villageneighborhood. "You bought equipment. You may not be open, but you bought the equipment.

"You're paying rent, you have employees and you don't have a customer. Why? The way we either license or inspect."

Under the changes the mayor said will take effect by the end of the year, all new restaurants will get their zoning and location reviews early in the process of getting ready to open, so they won't be forced to make "expensive course corrections" later on because of problems.

New restaurants currently face as many as 20 separate inspections, a number Emanuel said he expects will be cut in half for most of them through better coordination by inspectors. Restaurant owners will receive packets to help them get ready for inspections and will be allowed to schedule their restaurant inspections at convenient times.

Emanuel said food safety inspections will still be surprises after the restaurants are up and running.

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Sales Tax Rate Change Summary 

Wednesday, June 06, 2012 2:44:25 PM

Sales Tax Rate Change Summary

To: All retailers and servicepersons conducting business in taxing jurisdictions whose sales tax rate is changing effective July 1, 2012.

 

Effective July 1, 2012, certain taxing jurisdictions have imposed a local sales tax or changed their local sales tax rate on general merchandise sales. The following taxes are affected:  home rule sales tax, non-home rule sales tax, business district sales tax, county public safety tax, county school facility tax, These local sales taxes are referred to in this bulletin as "locally imposed sales tax."

 

You must adjust your cash register and any computer program so that beginning on July 1, 2012, you will collect and pay the correct sales tax. You need to contact your software vendor if you use software to create your forms.  To verify your new combined sales tax rate (i.e., state and local sales taxes), go to the Tax Rate Database on the Department of Revenue website at tax.illinois.govand select rates for July 2012.

 

What is taxed?  The same items of general merchandise reported on Line 4a of Forms ST-1 and ST-2 that are subject to state sales tax are also subject to the locally imposed sales tax.

 

Locally imposed sales tax does not apply to sales of qualifying food, drugs, and medical appliances1 that are reported on Line 5a of Forms ST-1 and ST-2; or, items that must be titled or registered by an agency of Illinois state government and reported on Form ST-556, Sales Tax Transaction Return

For questions on any of the above, contact Katy Khayyat at Katy.Khayyat@Ilinois.gov, or call (800) 252-2923 or (217) 785-8020

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Illinois Blows Smoke at Taxpayers  

Wednesday, June 06, 2012 12:34:03 PM

Article Taken From The Wall Street Journal

 

As long as we're in the business of alerting Americans to all the dangers of tobacco, we might want to slap another scary label on cigarette packaging:

"Warning: The surgeon general has determined that states choosing to address their spending problems by raising taxes on tobacco risk seeing real fiscal restraint go up in smoke."

Such a warning might be especially instructive for Illinois. There the Democratic legislature (with the help of Republicans in the state House) has just raised cigarette taxes by a dollar a pack. Gov. Pat Quinn says everyone wins: The higher tax means more revenue for Medicaid from those who continue to puff, while the higher price will encourage some to quit, lowering smoking-related health costs for the state.

Altogether the new taxes on tobacco products are projected to bring in $350 million. These dollars will be matched with federal funds, for a total of $700 million. In other words, what we have here is a "revenue enhancer"—something Republicans are constantly told they must embrace if they are serious about bringing government budgets into balance. 

 Though no Republican in the Illinois Senate voted for this tax, Republicans over in the state House provided the margin of victory. With Illinois Medicaid now spilling enough red ink to fill Lake Michigan—it accounts for slightly less than a third of the state budget—the legislators who voted yea are no doubt telling themselves they have done the responsible thing here.

Then again, it depends on what you mean by responsible. Within the great American Midwest, there exists a whole other approach to responsibility and Medicaid. It's called Ohio.

Unlike Illinois, Ohio has a Republican governor, John Kasich, and a reformist Republican legislature. Unlike Illinois, Ohio's governor ruled out tax hikes as a way to address his state's budget hole ($8 billion). And unlike Illinois, whose Medicaid cuts mostly do nothing to slow the growth of spending, Ohio's Medicaid program expects to see its annual rate of increase cut in half.

How did Buckeye Republicans do it? It turns out that when you can't rely on dubious revenue projections, you get more serious about spending. When Mr. Kasich's people looked at Medicaid, they found that 4% of Ohio's Medicaid cases accounted for 51% of the spending. That allowed them to address costs while improving care—e.g., coordinating care for the most expensive, chronic cases instead of just having them show up in emergency rooms.

In sharp contrast, the cigarette tax in Illinois raises many more questions than it answers. Take the projected $350 million in revenue, which is designed to help close a $2.7 billion Medicaid gap.

Illinois is unlikely to meet that target, if only because it is bordered by several states that will now have much lower tobacco taxes. Once again Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels will have the last laugh on Gov. Quinn. With a cigarette tax that will now be half that of its neighbor, Indiana merchants and the Indiana government will soon enjoy the dollars flowing in from Illinois citizens crossing the border to buy cheaper smokes.

The different approaches to Medicaid reform taken by Illinois and Ohio are a microcosm of the same basic choice that will be before the American electorate come November. It's whether we will have government that lives within its means—and can correct its excesses—or whether we will have Greece.

In Illinois, after all, the doubling of the cigarette tax comes a year after the governor and legislature pushed through what they told us would be a "temporary" boost in the state income tax. Is anyone really surprised that, at 8.7%, Illinois unemployment remains above the 8.2% national average? Or that long-established companies such as Sears and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange make threatening noises about leaving until pols carve out some special treatment for them?

Compare Illinois to Mr. Kasich's Ohio, where unemployment is down to 7.4%, below the national average. Granted, the auto bailouts helped keep the unemployment number lower than it might have been otherwise. Ohio is not quite the mess that Illinois is. And Mr. Kasich saw voters reverse legislation to curb collective bargaining for government workers. Still, Ohio is making tougher choices than Illinois, which remains a regional outlier.

John Tillman, CEO of the free-market Illinois Policy Institute, describes what's really going on with the cigarette tax this way: "The governor and the legislature have opted for making the 2011 'temporary' tax hikes permanent by keeping Medicaid spending at unaffordable levels and relying on more tax dollars to finance it. Worst of all, by looking to taxes they have failed to address the real problems in Medicaid."

That's the problem with rosy "revenue enhancers." Instead of solving the problem of overspending, they tend to give politicians just enough wiggle room to avoid facing up to it. You might call it "blowing smoke."

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How to Put a Waitress Out of Work When the government forces restaurants to pay servers more 

Wednesday, June 06, 2012 11:14:29 AM

How to Put a Waitress Out of Work

When the government forces restaurants to pay servers more, jobs and tip income go down.

 

By MICHAEL SALTSMAN

 

It's an election year, which means there's no shortage of legislative proposals that appeal to the heart rather than the head. A recent example is Sen. Tom Harkin's Rebuild America Act. Among other things, the Iowa Democrat wants to raise the minimum wage by 220% for employees who receive tip income, such as waiters and waitresses.

 

An increase of this magnitude will be devastating in an industry where labor costs consume one-third of sales revenue. But that hasn't stopped pro-union advocacy groups like the Restaurant Opportunities Center from promoting Mr. Harkin's bill (and similar state efforts) with the emotionally compelling myth that tipped employees earn little more than $2 an hour.

 

Here are the facts. The federal minimum wage for employees who earn tip income is $2.13 an hour. The Labor Department permits their employers to pay the lower base wage so long as the employee earns at least the full federal minimum wage of $7.25 when their tips are included. If tips fall short of that amount, employers kick in the rest. According to recent Census Bureau data, the average hourly wage for a restaurant employee earning tip income is $11.82. Top earners can collect $24 an hour or more.

 

The difference between the two minimum wages is called the tip credit. Created by a 1966 amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act, the tip credit is a political acknowledgment of the single-digit profit margins in tipped industries, such as restaurants, and of the income supplement that gratuities provide.

 

Not all states view the tip credit as a sensible compromise. Thirty-one (including the District of Columbia) have raised the mandatory minimum wage for tipped employees, thus reducing the tip credit's value. Seven of those states—Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Minnesota, Alaska and Nevada—have eliminated the tip credit altogether. Their intention was to make sure tipped employees got a higher income. But the results haven't been as expected.

Enlarge Image

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A waitress at a restaurant in Wichita Falls, Texas

 

In a study published in 2005 in Applied Economics Letters, John Anderson and Orn Bodvarsson from the University of Nebraska analyzed 1999 Bureau of Labor Statistics data and found no relationship between a boost in restaurant employees' base wages and their take-home compensation. A larger study published last year by the Employment Policies Institute examined 20 years of Census Bureau data. Economists William Even (Miami University) and David Macpherson (Trinity University) found that each time the mandatory state wage for tipped employees rose by 10%, hours worked fell by 5%.

 

Messrs. Even and MacPherson have also analyzed Sen. Harkin's bill, and they estimate that the combined loss of employee hours would translate to the equivalent of over 447,000 full-time tipped jobs.

 

Fewer hours at work and fewer employees on staff also means there's less of a chance to earn tips. In Washington state, for instance, Seattle Weekly reported in December that many restaurants have stopped hiring bus boys and instead have servers bus their own tables. Managers assign five- or six-table sections instead of the traditional three or four.

 

Nationally, table-service restaurants have experimented with computer terminals that allow customers to order and pay at the table. A job that pays a server $12 an hour when tips are included won't be nearly as lucrative when all the server is doing is carrying food to the table.

 

If there is a legitimate complaint about the status quo for tipped employees, it's that their earnings can vary during the year. During a slow month, for instance, an employee can see his effective hourly wage cut substantially due to a lower volume of customer traffic. An innovative fix for this problem was proposed in Florida earlier this year: In exchange for paying a $2.13 hourly base wage instead of the state-mandated $4.65, restaurants agreed to guarantee $10 an hour in total compensation. But because the bill relaxed a wage mandate, labor groups cried foul and rallied against it. It died in committee.

 

Sen. Harkin's proposal follows the progressive textbook method for raising wages: Just pass a law that makes employers pay more. Yet whether it's an increase in the minimum wage or an increase in the less-familiar tipped wage, the law of unintended consequences still applies.

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New Lenox Village Board close to vote on video gaming 

Wednesday, June 06, 2012 10:54:39 AM

By Barbara Dargis Special to the Tribune Wednesday at 3:57 p.m.

New Lenox trustees on May 29 discussed  whether or not the village should opt out of the state’s Video Gaming Act, making it illegal for bar and restaurant owners to have video poker machines in their businesses.

A final vote is expected at the June 11 regular meeting.

As of mid-May, more than 250 communities in the state either already have ordinances banning the gaming terminals or have opted out of the state’s Video Gaming Act, according to the Illinois Gaming Board’s website. The program was approved by lawmakers in 2009 to raise funds for infrastructure projects throughout the state. The state’s gaming board began accepting applications for video poker licenses from businesses last month.

Of the seven-member New Lenox Village Board, three trustees—including the mayor—expressed opposition to video gaming, one trustee remains undecided, and three voiced no opinion at all. 

Trustee Ray Tuminello characterized the state’s involvement with video poker games as a “scam” to take money from residents.

The games are powered with software that reports all games and winnings to the state, and the state is responsible for turning winnings back to the liquor-serving business and to the municipality.                                                                            

Mayor Tim Baldermann and Trustee Nancy Dye focused their attention on the state’s ability to actually follow through on its obligation to turn 30 percent of the profits back to the business owners and five percent of the profits back to the hosting municipality.  “The state of Illinois cannot be trusted on what it promises,” Baldermann said.

Dye accused the state of extending “false hope” and went on to predict that any business that would expect to receive money from the state under these circumstances “will never get exactly as they are promised.”

While there were several village residents—including a spokeswoman from the New Lenox United Methodist Church—who spoke against allowing video poker machines, there were an equal number who spoke to support it.  Mary Goines, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association, joined Jim Potter, owner of the local White Horse, who reminded board members that business stand to gain money and customers with the machines.

 In the event that New Lenox decides to ban video gambling, the bars and restaurants that currently have electronic poker games that are not considered gambling will be banned as well.  That is not a pleasant prospect for the New Lenox VFW, according to Bill Walter.

He said that organization stands to lose on both counts.  “We will lose a considerable amount of money and clients,” Walter said.

But several residents urged the board to opt out of the program.  “It is wrong to get money from gambling,” said Aija Bjorklund, a member of the United Methodist Church. 

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Moving Towards Zero Tolerance: DADSS and Other Anti-Alcohol Policies 

Thursday, May 31, 2012 11:26:36 AM

Source: ABI

May 30th

During a two-day forum hosted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) this month, activists including Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Institute for Behavior and Health urged the NTSB to recommend several anti-alcohol policies, including a lower legal limit, alcohol advertising restrictions, sobriety checkpoints, elimination of "drink responsibly, drive responsibly" messaging, and interlocks for first-time offenders. The NTSB will use the information heard at the forum when it makes its recommendations to federal and state lawmakers later this year.

These activists repeatedly called for the NTSB to recommend dramatic increases to funding for the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) program, either by including the same funding level ($24 million over two years) in the Senate highway bill, or by adopting the ROADS SAFE bills currently pending in the House and Senate.

Phase I of the DADSS program was completed as researchers hoped; prototype testing indicated that there are potential technologies that ultimately could function non-invasively in a vehicle environment to measure a driver's BAC. The presentation detailed the two prototypes that passed Phase I earlier this year and are currently being pursued in Phase II:

Breath-Based Technology (Autoliv): uses carbon dioxide to measure breath dilution of alcohol;

Touch-Based Technology (Takata-TruTouch): uses a touchpad interface and infrared light to determine alcohol concentration.

Right now, both prototypes are unable to meet the DADSS stated standards of time, accuracy, and precision. However, researchers have identified the technological modifications needed to meet the DADSS standards.

The DADSS program is on track to develop research vehicles to demonstrate the technologies in-car by the second half of 2013. The representative from DADSS developers indicated that if the $24 million in funding is granted, it would greatly accelerate the development timeline.

Activists Move Towards Zero Tolerance

In addition to providing an update on the DADSS program's progress, the NTSB forum revealed another disturbing trend: the activist push to lower the legal BAC level for driving. NTSB panelists repeatedly stated that the only safe BAC level for driving is zero percent. The NTSB also heard presentations from international traffic officials who stressed the supposed impact a 0.05 percent legal limit has had on reducing traffic fatalities outside the United States. (The deaths cannot be directly attributed to a lower legal limit; falls in fatalities coincided with overall declines in traffic fatalities and other anti-drunk driving policies.)

Disturbingly, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) claimed that 7,082 lives could be saved each year by lowering the legal limit below 0.08 percent and 10,600 lives could be saved by enacting a zero tolerance policy. Somehow, IIHS predicts that more drivers will be deterred from drunk driving by a 0.0 percent legal limit than an alcohol detector installed on every vehicle. (IIHS projects that installing alcohol detection devices in all cars would save 8,000 lives per year.)

During the forum, activists urged adoption of several other anti-drinking policies:

Increase use of sobriety checkpoints-PIRE, MADD, IIHS, and international representatives reiterated the importance of checkpoints. They stated that even if zero drunk drivers are caught, checkpoints are still effective.

Require ignition interlocks for ALL drunk drivers-activists frequently stated that ignition interlocks should be required for all drunk drivers, stating that the hard-core drunk drivers (whom data show cause the majority of alcohol-related traffic fatalities) are only a "small fraction" of the drunk driving problem.

Eliminate of "drink responsibly, drive responsibly"-activists urged beverage companies to change messaging to "drive drug and alcohol free."

Adopt additional restrictions and bans on alcohol advertisements-panelists urge regulation of where and how many alcohol advertisements can be shown.

Impose automatic penalties for drunk driving-to reduce the burden on the courts, international panelists recommended taking judicial discretion out of sentencing and instead imposing automatic sanctions based on breath test results.

Utilize random breath testing-Australian and European representatives credited their countries' policy of randomly testing drivers' BAC levels (without cause) and lowering the legal BAC limit with reducing the countries' drunk driving fatalities. Australia's representative touted that 30 percent of Australians surveyed had been subject to a random breathalyzer test within the last six months. Finland reported stopping 42 percent of its population each year, finding only 0.9 percent above the 0.05 percent legal limit.

Eliminate breath test refusals-panelist recommended imposing heavy penalties on individuals who refuse a breathalyzer test and making it easier to obtain blood test warrants.

Increase server training-panelists emphasized the importance of educating servers to successfully identify intoxicated individuals and refuse additional service.

ABI's Pushback

In addition to our continued efforts to keep DADSS funding out of the highway bill, ABI will send our own list of recommendations to the NTSB:

Target interlocks at the hard-core drunk drivers (>0.15 BAC and repeat offenders)-the best way to utilize interlocks is to focus their use on those who cause the majority of alcohol-related traffic fatalities and benefit the most from the harshest punishment.

Maintain the 0.08 legal limit-alcohol impacts every individual differently and state laws already allow police to arrest drivers with BACs under 0.08 who appear too intoxicated to drive safely. Charging all drivers at 0.05 with a crime is unreasonable.

Increase use of saturation patrols-instead of wasting taxpayer dollars on costly and ineffective sobriety checkpoints, increased saturation patrols catch drunk, drowsy, distracted, and speeding drivers.

Eliminate funding for the DADSS program-instead of spending millions forcing drivers to prove their sobriety, dedicate funding to treatment programs for the chronic alcohol abusers who create and comprise the real drunk driving problem.

Focus on reducing driver distraction-many studies show that driving while talking on a hands-free cellphone, texting, or drowsy is more dangerous than driving with a 0.08 BAC. Focusing on distracted driving rather than lowering the legal limit is a more effective way of reducing traffic fatalities.

 

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