Open Letter to Gov. Walz on Credit Card Junk Fees

May 16, 2024

Dear Governor Tim Walz,

The Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA) represents Minnesota’s small, family-owned liquor retailers, both on-sale (such as bars and restaurants) and off-sale (such as liquor stores).

The MLBA opposes House File 3438 /Senate File 3537, the so-called “Junk Fees” bill.

The hospitality industry does not operate on a one-sized fits all model. We disclose all fees clearly on our menus and receipts as required by law. The challenges we have faced over the last several years from inflation, rising food costs, and increased regulations are continuing to impact our financial viability – and we already operate in a thin margin.

In particular, service fees are a tool for many in our industry to insure that ALL of the staff benefits from the charges to our guest; not just the tipped employees. This is due to the nature of our state laws around gratuities – that the tip only goes to the server – and eliminates many employees from being compensated for their contribution to the guest experience. For example, charging a health and wellness fee allows many in the industry to use that money to offer expanded benefits to non-tipped employees and their families.

We ask you fully weigh the impacts of HF 3438/Senate File 3537 and oppose the legislation.

Thank you for your time and consideration and I am always available to provide perspective as to what our industry faces now and as we look forward.

Respectfully submitted,

Tony Chesak
MLBA Executive Director