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Fat Tax Gives Lobbyist 5 Minutes of Fame, but No Respect


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A proposed 5-cent “fat tax” on fast-food items in Nevada is one of many issues capturing Dean Heyl’s attention these days—and one of the few gaining him air time on TV.

Heyl is the lobbyist for the International Franchise Association who works on state issues, and he usually toils behind the scenes: urging franchise execs to lobby against bills he hates, cajoling legislators, the usual lobbyist fare.

But the fat tax is just too sexy for TV to resist. A Nevada lawmaker has proposed a 5-cent tax on fast-food items with more than 500 calories, which of course sends every TV news crew to park outside McDonald’s and ask customers stuffing their faces what they think about it.

Their reactions are mixed, but Heyl is firmly against. He thinks the tax is unfair because it only targets fast-food restaurants, for one thing, and he’s gone on TV repeatedly to say so.

The newfound fame isn’t gaining him respect with family, he told attendees with a laugh at the International Franchise Association Legal Forum in May. Dean Heyl’s Dad said, “Son, if you’re going to be talking about a fat tax maybe you ought to lose a few pounds.” It's a good thing lobbyists develop the thickest skins.

 

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is associate editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is editor-in-chief of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is staff writer at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonLaura Michaels is managing editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
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Nancy WeingartnerNancy Weingartner is editor-at-large of Franchise Times magazine and the editor of the Food On Demand media project. You can reach her at 612-767-3200 or at nancyw@franchisetimes.com.
Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nanweingartner.
 

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