BAKER GOES AGAINST THE STATUS QUO HERE & SPEAKS OUT/VOTES AGAINST THE CITY’S B & O TAX INCREASE
“Yelm City Council approved an increase to the citys Utility B&0 Tax Tuesday [Aug. 11], not so unanimously.
The tax would have increased from 4 percent to 6 percent, which is the cap the city can increase to without going to the voters.
A survey of other Washington cities show most are currently taxing at 6 percent.
Councilman Joe Baker was against the 2 percent increase.
Nothing to say we cant cut some things from our budget, Baker said. To raise this 2 percent, just because other cities are at 6 percent.
This increase is in conjunction with the recently announced city layoffs to help balance city finances…
With the current 4 percent tax rate a customer will pay $2 for a $50 bill. With the 2 percent increase, a customer will pay $3 for a $50 bill.
The tax rate change would increase city revenues by approximately $219,268 annually.
If the tax increase wasnt approved, the city faced cutting services and/or additional staffing.
‘I dont really like seeing increasing taxes that will affect the consumer,’ said councilman Mike McGowan.
However, because it was bringing the tax to the same level as other cities, he said the increase was palatable.
Only one person from the public spoke during the public hearing, Yelm real estate agent Mark Steves.
He said he thought the tax increase would be counterproductive for the city bringing new businesses into Yelm.
‘If we have to make cuts in the city, we have to make cuts in the city,’ Steves said.
Council voted to approve the rate increase with three in favor.
Baker voted against and councilwoman Pat Fetterly abstained.
Councilmembers Bob Isom and Russ Hendrickson were not present.
Fetterly clarified she abstained because she was not at the meeting the tax increase was discussed.
She also said she particially agreed with Steves.
‘We could be hurting ourselves rather than helping ourselves,’ Fetterly said. ‘We have to make cuts, we have to make cuts,’ quoting the NVN.
THIS WRITER STANDS CORRECTED, AS I SAID HERE THAT THE B & O TAX INCREASE WOULD BE A “SLAM DUNK”, BASED ON OBSERVING THIS CITY COUNCIL FOR 5 YEARS NOW, AS REPORTED HERE ON AUGUST 11TH.
I applaud Mr. Baker for his courage in standing up and speaking out against the wanton acts of this City Council to make up for their budgeting and expense mistakes (lawsuits, snubbing their noses at water issues, etc.) by taxing businesses here (first a major water rate increase, now a 2% B & O tax increase).
Of course, outside of Ms. Fetterly who retires this Fall from the City Council, Mr. Baker is painfully aware of what these taxes do to the small businesses of Yelm because his family have been business owners here for decades. All others on the City Council (excluding the Mayor) work for others and do not know first-hand how the fees, taxes and decisions this City Council makes affects local business owners.
THANK YOU TO MR. BAKER & MR. STEVES FOR SPEAKING OUT IN SUPPORT OF OUR LOCAL BUSINESS OWNERS.
THAT THE YELM CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WAS SILENT ON THIS ISSUE AND THE WATER RATE HIKE’S AFFECTS ON LOCAL BUSINESS OWNERS HERE SPEAKS VOLUMES!