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Restaurant Owner Questions Stothert's Promise on Tax

Restaurant Owner Questions Stothert's Promise on Tax

By Justin Pazera. CREATED Jul 25, 2013

Omaha, NE -- Cooks at Lo Sole Mio were prepping dinner for a crowd Thursday afternoon. It's a 21-year tradition for the family owned business. Like every other restaurant in Omaha, it's now dishing out cash for the city's restaurant tax. "If you look at our record of paying taxes and this and that, we've never missed and never defaulted on anything," said Dino Losole. So when the Losole read a letter from the city, he was surprised. Lo Sole Mio is being audited.

"We're close to $90,000 of paying into this tax so for us to be audited on something that creates a surplus for the city is unthinkable," said Losole. The Losole family was adamantly against then Mayor Suttle when he introduced the restaurant tax in 2010. They supported Jean Stothert because she campaigned on repealing the tax.

"In my opinion it's not a fair tax," said Mayor Jean Stothert. "But it is generating a lot of revenue now and it's predicted to generate at least $27-million in '14."  The mayor says that's part of the issue, finding money. "It's very difficult," said Stothert. "There's no doubt about it and like I've told people many times, you can't do it overnight, and I don't think anyone expected to do it overnight." The mayor says the ordinance requires the city to randomly audit restaurants in Omaha. Stothert says about ten restaurants a week are selected. Lo Solo Mio is just one of them.

Stothert can't give a specific timeline on when the tax will be reduced or repealed. She hinted to 2015 but can't promise a certain date. As for Lo Sole Mio, they say they'll comply and hand over their documents.