The current smoking ban in Lincoln, Nebraska is coming back to bite the Capital City in a big way.
The City, that has lost an estimated 3 million plus dollars to date due to the ban, was presented abill totalling more than half a million bucks.
A Local bar owner who recently closed his doors due to lost revenue presented a 500,000 plus bill to the city in June. This claim is for damages due to loss of revenue due to the smoking ban. The City has two choices; pay it or deny it. The City Attorney notified the City Council that the city is electing not to pay the man but officials at the meeting indicated that they were very concerned that a law suit to re-coop his losses may be in the works.
There have been several businesses that have closed their doors this year claiming the loss in revenue due to the ban was too much for them to absorb.
As already noted this ban has cost the city a loss of over 3 million dollars. Couple that with the number of jobs eliminated and the possibly pending lawsuit that could very well turn into a class action suit if some of the other defunct businesses seek to join in and the no smoking debacle could end up costing more money than the city can afford.
Fear not that businesses are boarding up and the city is going broke the air in the empty buildings will be smoke free.
Last year the City council passed a partial smoking ban that excempted bars and smoke shops. A few weeks later in the dark of night the same city council recinded that ban and enacted a complete and total ban on smoking in all public places in Lincoln, including restaurants, bars and smoke shops.
The insuing uproar initiated a petition initiative that placed two choices on the November 2004 ballot.
Choice One: The original partial ban as passed by the council.
Choice two: The total and complete ban as passed by the city council.
There was no choice three: No ban at all.
In other words Lincolnites there WILL be a ban whether you want one or not, but we will let you decide which one.
At the General election in November the citizens of Lincoln voted by an overwhelming majority to cut off their nose to spite their face.
The truth is this ban has cost the city more than it can ever hope to re-coop and the bleeding continues.
Since the ban took effect many businesses that operate just outside of the city limits has seen an increase in revenues proportional to Lincolns losses. These communities are gratefull to Lincoln smokers and the windfall that they have brought with them.
Before the vote there were many voices that proclaimed the economic devastation that a total ban would conjure up. These claims by knowledgeable econimists was poo poo'd by the non-smoking public.
HEY GUESS WHAT >>>> THEY WERE RIGHT
The money is still being spent it just isn't being spent in Lincoln.