LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS WILL STAGE A DEMONSTRATION AND
SPEAK AT A PUBLIC HEARING ON SATURDAY, APRIL 16
Please sign our petition.
On the heels of the worst recession in decades, the City of Alexandria is proposing a brand new tax aimed directly at the city’s locally-owned small businesses and the community’s entrepreneurs are uniting in opposition.
The proposed “Add-On Tax” would stick commercial property owners with an additional 12.5% tax burden in a city where small businesses make up 90% of the business tax base.
City officials have justified the higher tax on the theory that comparable new levies in Arlington and Fairfax Counties give Alexandria the competitive capacity to raise commercial property taxes. But local businesses disagree, based on Alexandria’s unique economic reliance on small, locally-owned enterprises.
“Unlike Fairfax and Arlington, 90% of Alexandria businesses have fewer than 20 employees,” said Kim Putens, owner of Bellacara and Bloomers in Old Town. “Even the Washington Business Journal recently noted in an article that Old Town Alexandria is king of independent retailers.”
By contrast, Arlington and Fairfax have commercial property bases dominated by high-rises owned by national real estate investment corporations – institutional owners who are more insulated from the effects of an increase in taxes in one area of region.
Alexandria business owners are trying to educate council members on the direct impact of skyrocketing taxes on the businesses that fill the city’s Old Town and Del Ray corridors.
“While not all business owners own their buildings, almost all commercial leases are constructed in triple net terms,” said Todd. “This means that the business, or lessee, pays all taxes associated with the building and if the taxes on a building go up, the lessee’s business costs go up. When you raise taxes on landlords you automatically raise taxes on the stores.”
Alexandria’s proposed property tax increase is not in response to any kind of city financial crisis – the City’s budget boasted a surplus last year. Further, the Add On Tax is not the only tool the City has to pay for transportation projects and it is not the only option that the state legislature gave them.
The organized small business owners invite all Alexandrians who are concerned about the Add On Tax to come join small business owners in a protest at City Hall on Saturday, April 16 in advance of the City’s budget hearing at 9:30 am. Many small business owners will be speaking at the public hearing to express their disappointment with the City’s approach to taxes on job creators during the challenging economic climate.
Please sign our petition.