Friday, December 13, 2013
If you had done any math for your front-page article ("From caught to bought, all about lobster economics," Aug. 12), you would have discovered that 1 pound of lobster in the shell does not equal one lobster roll price, but since you did not do the math, I have done it for you:
“There is a reason that lobster rolls, with picked lobster, dressed, in a toasted bun and served, cost $15 or more,” says the owner of Leavitt & Sons Deli in Falmouth. “Lobsters may be inexpensive, but labor is still not cheap.”
2012 File Photo/John Ewing
I buy lobsters from my local lobsterman. I pay him more than $3 a pound for new-shell lobster.
One hundred pounds of new-shell lobster ($325) yields about 15 pounds of lobster meat ($22 a pound), not including labor.
Dealers of lobster meat are charging $24 a pound, for a gross profit of $2 a pound, not including labor.
Restaurants typically put $8 to $10 worth of lobster meat in each roll, not including the labor of making the roll.
So, for a $16 lobster roll, the restaurant's cost of goods is almost 50 percent, which is extremely high and does not include labor.
There is a reason that lobster rolls, with picked lobster, dressed, in a toasted bun and served, cost $15 or more.
Lobsters may be inexpensive, but labor is still not cheap. Only by picking my own lobster meat can I even afford to sell my lobster rolls for $11.99.
I would have expected a local paper to be more realistic about the true cost of lobster rolls, not the shoddy piece that you printed.
Leavitt & Sons Deli
Recession, not high taxes, small firms' big roadblock
Opponents of equitable taxation often claim that raising rates slightly on wealthier Americans to pay down national debt and restore valuable public investments would somehow hurt small business and prevent job creation.
Well, as an owner of one of those job-creating small businesses, I have an important message for my "defenders": The idea that taxes are preventing us from hiring is nonsense. Nothing in the tax code is keeping us from taking on employees; what's holding us back is a lack of consumer demand.
It's the recession that's been brutal on small business, not current or anticipated tax rates.
Between 2006 and 2010, our retail sales fell sharply. My husband and I haven't taken real salaries out of the business in years.
The reason is clear: Our area was hard hit by the real estate collapse, and the tourism industry on which so many of our neighbors rely was flattened by the ensuing economic downturn.
What could put some money back into our potential customers' pockets and restore our local economy? One way is to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for families making less than a quarter million dollars a year -- which means 98 percent of all households.
Another is to use the revenue raised by letting the high-income tax cuts expire not only to pay down debt but also to make smart, targeted investments in our communities and people.
Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins will have a central role to play when this tax issue is debated in Congress at the end of the year.
Will they stand with the middle class and ask the most fortunate among us to pay a little more to restore our national credit and prosperity? I certainly hope so. Maine's hard-pressed small businesses will be watching.
Tax assessment system perpetuates major inequity
On July 31, residents of the city of Saco rejected the school budget and authorized exploration of withdrawal from Regional School Union 23.
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