Douglas County has long been on its own in not having a business license. The idea has been suggested, but has been rejected several times because our business community has rightly pointed out that it would just be another source of revenue for the county.
The county isn't hiding the fact that the latest effort to approve a business license is to generate revenue from the general fund.
There has been no attempt to claim that there would be some sort of service provided in exchange for the fee.
It's a tax on business.
We've got a news flash for the county, businesses are hurting here. We've all had to tighten our belts in response to the recent downturn in the economy.
The county is trying to make up a $600,000- $700,000 shortfall on the backs of a business community that is itself struggling.
The tax proposal was met by some stiff opposition at meetings this past week in the Valley and at Lake Tahoe.
Residents and business owners said:
"You're going to tell these people who are hanging on by their toenails, so to speak, to pay more taxes."
"This is the worst conceivable time to be going after a business tax."
"One hundred dollars for a small business is really high."
Proponents will point out that businesses will simply pass the cost of the tax to their customers.
However, that will make the businesses less competitive, reducing the money they raise in sales tax and thereby costing the county in the long run.
The fee could be approved by the commission as soon as February. We understand that the county has to fulfill its obligations to its residents.
But we believe that implementing a business license tax will end up costing the county as much as it helps.
- This editorial first appeared in The Record Courier