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Burbank restaurants increase tax revenue

Jackson Bell

As the Empire Center attracts hungry customers wanting more dining

options, Burbank has benefited with a 7.5% growth in restaurant sales

taxes, according to recent city figures.


“All the other areas in the city [with a high concentration of

restaurants] have stabled off and aren’t growing,” Burbank Financial

Service Director Derek Hanway said. “It’s the Empire Center that is

making the push right now.”


The 1% Burbank accumulates from the 8.25% sales tax in California

brought in $558,000 in the most recent figures, Hanway said. Those

figures were based on a year-to-year comparison of the third fiscal

quarter, which ended Sept. 20, because it takes up to six months to

assess the data, he said. In comparison, 2001’s third quarter was


“About every time a new place or restaurant opens up, there is a

boost in sales that usually levels out in a year,” he said. “These


are new places that everyone wants to go to.”

Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Hometown Buffet, Panda Express

and others at the center, which opened less than two years ago, make

up 10% of the city’s restaurants. Burbank Economic Development

Manager Yvette Ulloa said the center, like the Burbank Village, is an

“ecosystem” that caters to shopping, dining and entertainment all in

close proximity to many of its customers’ workplaces.

Patrons from outside city limits also frequent the center.


“We attract people from the San Fernando Valley to the San

Gabriel Valley because we have one of the only cities that has a

restaurant row with such great variety,” Ulloa said.

Ranking above the state and county tax averages, the city’s

increase in restaurant tax revenue is no comparison to the amount of

taxes produced by sales of general consumer goods, better known as

retail sales.

“One quarter of general consumer-goods sales is larger than

restaurant sales for the whole year,” Hanway said.

He also said because the city anticipated the potential restaurant

sales before the center opened and adjusted the city budget

accordingly, the extra tax revenue will provide scant relief from

expected state cuts.