Douglas leaders take up unpopular business license tax proposal
Sixty-seven percent of 87 businesses surveyed by the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce oppose a new business license tax under consideration today by Douglas County commissioners.
“We wish to advise you that recent surveys related to this issue indicated an overwhelming lack of support for the proposed business license fee,” the chamber said in a statement released concurrent with survey results.
County officials have said the new tax could raise $600,000 to $800,000 a year for the general fund. The ordinance would require businesses in Douglas County to pay an annual fee of $50, plus additional fees based on the number of employees.
Failure to pay the tax would result in doubling the amount due. Violators could be prosecuted civilly, including liens placed on business properties.
Businesses were also asked what kind of fee structure would be most equitable.
Forty-four percent preferred a flat fee. Twenty-five percent preferred a fee based solely on employee numbers.
Fifteen percent preferred a flat fee combined with additional fees based on employee numbers and square footage. Fourteen percent preferred a fee based on gross revenue, and two percent preferred a fee based on square footage alone.
The Chamber of Commerce isn’t the only business organization opposing the tax.
“We firmly believe that in harder economic times with business being challenged and some even closing their doors and losing their dreams, the county should be doing everything in its power to support business, not tax it,” said Renea Louie, Executive Director of the Business Council of Douglas County. “The county spends a great deal of money attracting business to the area, to generate future sales tax revenue. Now to say, ‘Whoops, we want to support business, the very heart of the county budget, but this year we must create a new tax to aide our own budget woes,’ is counterintuitive.”