Crony Baloney Video: Arlington VA Businesses Seek Strict Food Truck Regulations

Kendis Gibson at ABC7 writes and does a video report about local business leaders in Arlington, VA, who are trying to pass regulations to restrict food trucks in their area:

Why are these regulations desired? Because restaurants don’t like the competition from the food trucks:

Their fear is that the growth of food trucks is taking customers away from them, and now, they’re taking action to restrict the mobile meals. In fact, The Rosslyn Business Improvement District is proposing ways of controlling food trucks, and will pass recommendations on to the Arlington County Board in June.

All businesses would love to have no competition, but competition is a natural part of living in a free society. Instead of facing the competition from food trucks by serving their consumer’s needs, they are trying to use the power of the government to hamper their competition. An article at ArlNow.com about this issue explains some of the different ways the businesses want to restrict the food trucks:

  • “Develop a mechanism to address the number and schedule of food trucks during lunch hours. This would provide a consistent approach for both food truck operators and bricks and mortar retailers.”
  • “Dedicate a location for food trucks that is not along the main retail areas.”
  • “Limit the number of food trucks-food carts per block to no more than two (2) and ensure adequate sidewalk clearance for safe passage of pedestrians.”

Scheduling food trucks during certain hours? Dedicated locations away from retail areas? Limit number of trucks and how close they can park? These regulations are clearly intended only to constrain the food trucks’ business and help the restaurants.

Government should ensure that businesses are free to compete fairly in the marketplace, but they should not maintain some ‘level of competition’ by favoring existing businesses and harming newer ones. This gets three baloneys:

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