Thursday, November 05, 2009

Columbia Missourian

Bill Hannegan — an activist in St. Louis who heads Keep St. Louis Free, which, according to its Web site, "fights to protect the personal freedoms and property rights of St. Louisans" — has voiced his negative opinion of the new law.

"We knew it was going to be a tough fight in St. Louis County, and we are not surprised we lost, but we are disappointed," he said.

Other areas that have enacted similar bans have experienced business and job losses, Hannegan said.

He cited a study by The Regional Economist on revenue lost by casinos from the statewide smoking ban in Illinois to illustrate his point. According to the study, Illinois had a tax loss of more than $200 million in 2008 alone, and local communities lost over $12 million in tax revenue.

Additionally, Hannegan said that Chad Cotti of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh predicted a 20 percent job loss among bar employees in St. Louis city because of the ban.