Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mayor Talks B&O Tax at Chamber's Board Meeting Today

Tacoma is raising the floor - literally - on its B&O tax for small businesses. 

Mayor Marilyn Strickland outlined Tacoma's proposed revisions to the City's B&O tax regulations at today's Chamber Board of Directors' meeting. Read the Mayor’s PowerPoint presentation from this morning.

Targeted to small business and economic diversity and vitality, the provisions raising the floor exempts about 4,900 small businesses from paying any Tacoma B&O tax, although they will still be subject to Washington State's B&O tax on their gross revenues. 

Today's floor for Tacoma's B&O is $75,000 in gross revenues.  The proposal would raise that floor to $250,000 in 2011.  Tacoma would have the highest floor among Puget Sound cities.  A proposed stepped increase in the floor would raise the threshold to $300,000 in five years.

The next step is adoption by the Tacoma City Council in November 2010, for the 2011-12 budgeting cycle.

A long time objective, the Chamber welcomes this revision as addressing a pressing burden on Tacoma's businesses. 

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber
Advocacy Timeline: B&O Tax Policies

January, 2010
Featured Mayor Marilyn Strickland at a Chamber Board meeting, where she promised to address the economic dampening of the City’s B&O Tax. Advocacy during the ensuing months as this initiative was developed.

December, 2009
Lead organizer advocating that the City of Tacoma nullify tax claw-back for employment credits against B&O Tax payments during this recessionary time.

Chamber staff service on the Tacoma Service Tax Task Force, 20 meetings, which recommended the City of Tacoma cut the city B&O tax.

December 1999
Legislative priorities
“Reduce the B&O Tax Burden Further: reduce the negative impact of the Business and Occupation tax on the state’s economic development and the onerous burden it places on entrepreneurs and start-up companies.”

December 1998
Legislative Priorities
“1-Tax and Fiscal Policy
A-Maintain B&O tax rates at current level while lowering the exemption threshold for small businesses.”

August, 1990
City of Tacoma Taxes and Spending
“The City could improve the climate for small business start-ups and growth with minor procedural changes to its B&O threshold and its bidding process.”

June 1988
Policy: Tax Policy” Goals in imposition of taxes. It notes that Chamber intends to (address) various tax proposals for a 1988 Legislative priorities.

December 1986
Legislative Priorities
“Budget/Taxes/Economic Development. Tax Reform: The Chamber will also support granting additional tax authority, with the exception of the B and O tax, to cities and counties to finance specific local improvement projects.”

December 1986
Chamber's Legislative Priorities
“B and O Tax: Changes in the existing business and occupation tax is a vital part of any serious tax reform plan. The proposed single rate tax appears to be a step in the right direction, but in reality is not helpful. Impacts of the proposed tax on small, service sector businesses which are the current growth area of the economy, would be devastating. The Chamber will support changes in the tax which do not have such a negative impact. Examples of reforms the Chamber will support include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- exempting new businesses from the state B and o tax for three years
- reducing the state B and O tax for new businesses for three years
- restricting the ability of local government to impose separate B and O taxes”

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