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Food Truck Freedom in Arizona

A state law, signed yesterday, frees food trucks from various onerous local restrictions.

From the press release from the Institute for Justice, which promoted the law (and which is one of my favorite public interest law firms):

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill that ... will prevent municipalities from banning food trucks or creating red tape that makes it difficult for trucks to operate. This red tape includes restrictions that stop food trucks from parking in legal public parking spaces, that force trucks to leave private lots after an arbitrarily short period, and that prohibit trucks from operating within a certain distance of brick-and-mortar restaurants.

For more, see this article from the Arizona Republic (Dustin Gardiner & Andrew Nicla), published when the bill first passed the state senate last month, as well as IJ's Food Truck Freedom report.

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  • BestUsedCarSales||

    They weren't gonna stop them down in Tucson anyway.

  • bernard11||

    While I don't like these restrictions on food trucks, it is interesting to me that, once again, proponents of decentralized government are happy to override local ordinances they don't like.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Same as stopping any overreach. We also cheer when the feds overrule state slavery, or state religious oppression, or state violation of the first amendment, and so on.

    What do you cheer?

  • ||

    We believe in federalism, which means the state is the sovereign entity. Not municipalities.

  • nonzenze||

    The 'we' is not universal, and there are some (not all) that believe that decentralization is beneficial from a policy perspective even in such cases where it is not mandated.

  • Purple Martin||

    ...and in the contest between SR&C and ARWP for most effective counterargument based on use of logic and consistent principles, it's SR&C by a length and a half!

  • theobromophile||

    Municipalities derive their power from the states. There's not much of a problem when states rescind some of the power that municipalities abuse.

  • nonzenze||

    That doesn't mean that policy matter, States should not delegate to municipalities.

  • nonzenze||

    I look forwards to the outcome of this chapter of the States as laboratories. Guess we'll know in 24-36 months.

  • David Welker||

    This is just plain a good idea.

    Restaurants that are worried about competition can (1) provide better value and/or (2) start their own food trucks.

    A food truck is not always a substitute for a restaurant experience anyway, at least if you want someplace to sit inside. It is not the same atmosphere.

    If the only way your restaurant can survive is by restricting the competition, I would suggest one of three choices. (1) Improve the quality of food and/or service; consider expanding the menu. (2) Improve the atmosphere of your restaurant to make it more desirable. (3) Go out of business. The restaurant business is very competitive, and for good reason.

    I am glad to see this law in Arizona. And it illustrates how more centralized control can sometimes result in more freedom when it ends up limiting local control. I agree with the bias towards federalism to an extent; but this sort of law illustrates the limits of biases against central decision-making, at least when that central decision-making ensures that individuals have more freedom from local control that may not always be based on the best of motives.

  • David Welker||

    This is just plain a good idea.

    Restaurants that are worried about competition can (1) provide better value and/or (2) start their own food trucks.

    A food truck is not always a substitute for a restaurant experience anyway, at least if you want someplace to sit inside. It is not the same atmosphere.

    If the only way your restaurant can survive is by restricting the competition, I would suggest one of three choices. (1) Improve the quality of food and/or service; consider expanding the menu. (2) Improve the atmosphere of your restaurant to make it more desirable. (3) Go out of business. The restaurant business is very competitive, and for good reason.

    I am glad to see this law in Arizona. And it illustrates how more centralized control can sometimes result in more freedom when it ends up limiting local control. I agree with the bias towards federalism to an extent; but this sort of law illustrates the limits of biases against central decision-making, at least when that central decision-making ensures that individuals have more freedom from local control that may not always be based on the best of motives.

  • David Welker||

    This is just plain a good idea.

    Restaurants that are worried about competition can (1) provide better value and/or (2) start their own food trucks.

    A food truck is not always a substitute for a restaurant experience anyway, at least if you want someplace to sit inside. It is not the same atmosphere.

    If the only way your restaurant can survive is by restricting the competition, I would suggest one of three choices. (1) Improve the quality of food and/or service; consider expanding the menu. (2) Improve the atmosphere of your restaurant to make it more desirable. (3) Go out of business. The restaurant business is very competitive, and for good reason.

    I am glad to see this law in Arizona. And it illustrates how more centralized control can sometimes result in more freedom when it ends up limiting local control. I agree with the bias towards federalism to an extent; but this sort of law illustrates the limits of biases against central decision-making, at least when that central decision-making ensures that individuals have more freedom from local control that may not always be based on the best of motives.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    You can say that again...and again and again...

  • Craig Johnston||

    So, David, what do you think of this idea?

  • theobromophile||

    He's ambivalent.

  • Mike45||

    You don't have to ban food trucks. just enforce the common sense regulations about not dumping kitchen sink waste water (black water in Az.) in storm sewers. It takes a lot of wash water to run a clean commercial kitchen.

    Where do they get power? an extension cord over a walkway or noisy ratty generator that runs all day while parked next to your home or business?

    Brick and mortar businesses pay for their property taxes and services, if food trucks want a level playing field they should pay proportionately for the space and services they use.

  • nonzenze||

    Indeed, a food truck should pay the same price than the restaurant would pay to park a truck. They should pay the same sales tax the restaurant would pay, and follow the same labor laws.

  • TW||

    I agree, I'm not a fan of incumbent businesses using regulations to create barriers to entry to their competitors but I'm even less a fan of businesses that socialize their costs to improve their bottom line.

  • jph12||

    "Brick and mortar businesses pay for their property taxes and services, if food trucks want a level playing field they should pay proportionately for the space and services they use."

    What services do you think they are using but not paying for? Even if they are running an extension cord somebody is voluntarily paying for the power (unless your town has a bunch of unattended outdoor outlets).

    As for space, many businesses and organizations want food trucks around and volunteer (or allow for a fee) space for them to park. That's why you will often see food trucks on construction sites, for example. Otherwise they are subject to ordinary traffic laws regarding parking. What space are they getting away with using?

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