With an unprecedented pandemic, local governments are struggling to meet the needs of their small business community. In reality, the only thing they are capable of is providing links to other organizations who may be able to help.
Even though these government organizations exist mostly due to tax revenue generated by small business in the form of personal property tax (business equipment and real estate) along with the sales and meals tax on purchases within their localities, they have ZERO funds to distribute back to small business owners who have propped up their coffers for years, if not decades. The County even makes business owners pay a tax on how much they make each year in order to receive a business license. Yes, you read that right. If a business makes $170,000 a year, the county makes them pay $645 just to receive a business license for the year.
Consider a small bakery business who had to lay off several employees and close its doors due to the Governor’s Executive Order. That business may generate thousands of dollars in taxes for James City County but during a crisis the only help the County provides is a special web site designed to provide “valuable information” on the pandemic response. This is a poor excuse for help. Business owners are told to apply for SBA assistance or go to their local bank for loans, but we have heard of no small business that has been successful in receiving these funds to date. Some people stopped working on March 13th when schools were closed so they are going on a month now with no real assistance.
What is the City of Williamsburg’s response to this pandemic? Raise taxes. They are proposing a 2.9% increase to the real estate tax. James City County’s response? They are quick to say that they aren’t raising taxes, but instead are opting to raise the value of real estate in the County. Spoiler alert. . . if you raise the price on the thing you tax, YOU ARE RAISING TAXES.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU
Your tax bill will increase as your local governments struggle to make up the shortage due to the Tommy Tax along with other taxes not being collected by local businesses during this shutdown.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Unless you vote out fiscally irresponsible people to your Board of Supervisors and local / state representatives, you will be forced to hand over more of your hard earned money and receive little in return.