News and Commentary

WATCH: ReasonTV’s John Stossel On How Government Regulators Are Strangling Food Truck Entrepreneurs

ReasonTV’s John Stossel is back with another fascinating video. The topic this time is food trucks, and how government regulators are trying to “bottleneck” the industry.

Stossel spoke with two food truck operators in Chicago, Laura Pekarik and Joey Vanoni, who are struggling against regulations put in place in order to “protect” brick and mortar restaurants. One of these regulations stipulates that a food truck cannot park within 300 feet of an existing restaurant that sells the same products. For Vanoni, who makes and sells pizza, following such a regulation is a daunting task.

Stossel also spoke with two individuals on opposing sides of the economic debate — Dick Carpenter of the Institute for Justice, and Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney.

“Food trucks are just a way for people to enter,” says Carpenter. “The costs are often much less for a food truck, so it’s a way for them to get into business, and then grow that business into something bigger.”

Tunney, who allegedly sets the regulations in his district, has a different perspective, saying: “I’m going to be prejudicial toward those kinds of businesses because that keeps my neighborhood. A brick and mortar is a much more stable enterprise.”

Tunney notes, however, that he himself is a restaurant operator in Chicago.

These kinds of regulations, Dick Carpenter states, are being used to “keep competitors as far away as possible.” Playing devil’s advocate, Stossel asks: “The guy who opened the restaurant and had to pay real estate taxes, and pay for his building, isn’t he getting ripped off by these new guys?”

Carpenter replies: “That assumes that the food truck operator doesn’t pay expenses of the same type. In fact, food truck operators pay taxes, they pay rents, and through their rents they pay property taxes.”

According to Stossel, Pekarik and Vanoni are “fighting the regulations in court. They argue it’s unconstitutional to favor one industry at the expense of another.”

Check out the video for more details: