Sonntag, März 13, 2005

Erfahrungen mit dem Rauchverbot in Montgomery.

"Sides Trade Montgomery Smoking Ban Data" von Annys Shin, in: The Washington Post vom 23. Februar 2005.

In Montgomery, so dieser Artikel in der Washington Post, seien nach Angaben eines Befürworters des Rauchverbots nach zwölf Monaten Rauchverbot die Einnahmen der lokalen Umatzsteuer von Restaurants um 7,6 Prozent gestiegen, die Anträge, neue Restaurants zu eröffnen, sogar um 8,7 Prozent. Hingegen beklagt die Restaurant Association of Maryland, gestützt auf ihre eigene Daten, daß das Rauchverbot Restaurants geschädigt habe. Die genannten Zuwachszahlen seien irreführend, denn sie schlössen McDonald's und andere Ketten ein, die vom Rauchverbot nicht betrofffen seien.

Im Originaltext ist die Stellungnahme des Verbandes noch deutlicher:
"Compelling evidence has shown that smoking bans are extremely costly to the hospitality industry. In Montgomery County, which enacted a smoking ban on October 9, 2003, sports bars and smaller restaurants with bars have suffered the most significant revenue losses. These types of establishments are reporting a 30 percent decline in business during the week, and as much as a 50 percent decline on weekends. Several establishments in Montgomery County have already closed since October, blaming the smoking ban."
Und in einer Pressemitteilung (PDF) vom März 2005 heißt es:
The Association provided to lawmakers data that showed significant sales losses and sharp declines in the number of restaurants with liquor licenses that filed state sales tax returns from jurisdictions with local smoking bans (Talbot and Montgomery Counties). 'We figured out how smoking ban proponents were manipulating sales data and we simply called them on it,' said Melvin Thompson, vice president of government relations for the Restaurant Association of Maryland. 'They?ve been employing the same misleading tactic nationwide -- using industry-wide sales data to downplay the negative impact that smoking bans have on a specific segment of the restaurant industry. Instead of letting them get away with it again, we examined sales data from only those segments of the industry most impacted by smoking bans (establishments with liquor licenses) and successfully convinced lawmakers that this is the only data that is relevant.'

During testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, Talbot County Councilwoman Hillary Spence (the sponsor of Talbot?s smoking ban) questioned the validity of RAM?s data and maintained that Talbot County restaurants were 'thriving'. In the wake of the strength of RAM?s figures, however, she has since admitted that she made a mathematical error that led her to think that sales in Talbot County were down by only 1.1 percent. Instead, RAM?s facts accurately show an 11 percent decline. 'This remains a controversial issue and an uphill battle,' Thompson said. ?But the debate should begin with data that is accurate and relevant.'"