BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — The Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development office reports that the leisure and hospitality industry lost 1,600 jobs last month. In the past three months, it’s lost about 6,000 jobs. The Patrick administration says the numbers can be misleading.
“These numbers can be confusing at times, the fact of the matter is we added jobs in Massachusetts, but because of some of the various formulas the number ticked up, but we’re adding jobs, every sector is important and we’re going to continue to focus on that,” said Lt. Gov. Tim Murray.
Nevertheless, there is growing consensus among restaurant owners that they’re getting fewer customers. A Suffolk University poll released earlier this year found that 47 percent of Massachusetts residents said they eat out less. For restaurants owners, hiring new staff is becoming less of an option than just asking current staff to fill in for vacant positions.
“They’re trying to save money and stay afloat, you know and some of the regulations that are going out, some of the smaller restaurants can’t afford to do,” said Rep. Donald Wong (R-Saugus).
To boost their lagging industry, restaurant owners are asking the state to relax regulations as well as introduce a meals tax holiday that temporarily suspends the 6.25 percent tax on restaurant meals for about a week.
“If Best Buy gets a tax break for the sales tax holiday and they’re an out-of-state company, you know a meals tax holiday really makes more sense for restaurants," said Vincent Errichetti, spokesperson at the Restaurant and Business Alliance. "When you see an increase in restaurant business, you see tips go up for waiters, waitresses and bartenders.”
Lt. Gov. Murray says the administration is continuing to review whether the state can afford a meals tax holiday. But he notes that whenever you give a tax break to one industry, you have to pull out money from another industry.
Copyright 2013 WWLP TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Did you like this article? Vote it up or down! And don't forget to add your comments below!