New taxes not the answer

February 7th, 2012 by Ken

The City of Olympia just completed its annual retreat, looking forward and contemplating what it wants the city to be like in the future.

It appears that councilmembers and city staff still see downtown as the key to the city’s success and still want to see a vibrant and flourishing downtown business sector.

They’ve talked about several ways to bring that about, most of which require more money and consequently more taxes.

There’s a lot to be said about downtown Olympia. It has some of the best restaurants in the area. It has many unique shops and retail outlets selling one-of-a-kind products, and many items you can’t buy anywhere else. It’s unique beauty at the foot of Puget Sound adds a luster that you won’t find in a shopping mall or major retail center.

Helping downtown Olympia are the taxpayers. Millions of dollars of taxpayer money has been pumped into the downtown area to make it interesting and attractive. Percival Landing, the Farmers Market, The Washington Center, the Hands on Children’s Museum, the new city hall, are all taxpayer financed efforts on the part of Olympia mothers and fathers to make the downtown area a cultural icon.

But problems still exist which create concerns about the viability of downtown Olympia. Businesses come and go and empty store fronts abound. Groups of young people congregate on the street corners and parks. The homeless look to Olympia streets as areas in which they can find some peace and security. And social service agencies are headquartered in and around downtown.

Parking, and the perception of parking problems continue to confound and discourage shoppers.

To look at solving these problems, city officials are looking at a number of new taxes, among which are: utility tax increases, property tax increases and business and occupation tax increases.

These are all taxes which hit small business the hardest. These are the taxes which plague business which are struggling just to survive.

If the council want to create a vibrant, exciting and successful downtown it has to do a few things. It has to eliminate excessive city regulation which stifle business expansion. It has to do away with downtown parking meters and create more free parking.

And, it has to stop talk of more business taxes.

Those are things it can do – – but it won’t. So downtown will always be a problem, no matter how much taxpayer money is funneled into it.

Posted in Business, Government, History, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News

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