Fast Food Litter Tax Passed in Oakland

I have a few clients in Oakland. They’ll probably be paying a bit more for that Big Mac or other fast food; the Oakland City Council passed an ordinance Tuesday that imposes a fee of between $230 to $3,815 on fast-food businesses. The city plans to use the money to reduce fast-food litter; according to Councilwoman Jane Bruner the fee was imposed as a last resort. Before becoming law, the ordinance must be approved on a second reading (most likely on February 21st).

However, the tax may be illegal as different businesses will be charged differing amounts. Some fast-food restaurants will be exempt because they are in business improvement districts; others are exempt because they already have “litter control programs.” And the California Restaurant Association is considering a lawsuit to stop the ordinance from going into effect. Johnise Downs, of the CRA, is quoted by the Associated Press, stating, “[The businesses are] basically being penalized and targeted just for doing business in the city of Oakland.” A similar law was overturned in Chicago as being unconstitutionally vague.

News Stories: Contra Costa Times; Associated Press Story

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