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