Residents continue to subsidize businesses | Letter

Oct 05, 2016

Editor, The Beacon:

Mukilteo’s law regarding business licenses states that they “… are intended to be an exercise of the power of the city… for the purpose of revenue, in addition to the purpose of regulation. It is not the intent … to impose license fees solely for … a regulatory program.” (MMC 5.04.010)

Mukilteo’s Comprehensive Plan says better-suited businesses will generate more revenue for the city than costs to provide services to them.

In 1996, Mukilteo considered a B&O tax like Everett’s. Businesses lobbied for lower fees than what they paid before moving to Mukilteo; their reason for moving here. The City Council adopted an annual base fee plus $.02 per hour for employees (FTE).

FTE for full-time employees increased $.11 monthly in 1999 and $.15 in 2004. The annual base fee increased $4.30 in 2004 – our current annual business license of $113.50 plus $.0228 per employee hour.

Costs and services for business have increased substantially more than inflation the last 20 years, much more than these “token” increases many years ago.

Mukilteo businesses have thousands of non-resident employees, customers and tourists who are provided EMS, fire and police services. Hundreds of large trucks pick up and deliver daily, wearing out our streets. Residents do not benefit from most non-residents who create traffic and parking congestion.

Our EMS budget for 2017 is $2.5 million – $120 for each of our 21,000 residents ($480 for a family of four). Costs for non-residents should be paid for by businesses who want them to come here. EMS is just one example.

Half of Mukilteo’s businesses do not have employees and simply pay the $113.50 annual fee; a very small amount compared to their other business costs. Small businesses do not receive discounts or subsidies from others they pay. Reduced business fees increase the subsidy residents pay — someone has to pay these costs.

The mayor’s promises included reducing small business license fees. Now she also wants no FTE from non-Mukilteo companies doing business here, a greater subsidy than proposed for Mukilteo businesses [“City eyes rate hikes for business license fees,” front page, Sept. 28].

FTE fees are not new. Businesses should understand how to calculate them. Estimated FTE is paid. Actual hours are not reported to settle any difference.

Real estate agents are not excluded in the law but do not have Mukilteo business licenses.

Without a substantial business license fee increase and enforcement, the administration and the council are not following city law and its Comprehensive Plan. Residents will increasingly pay more taxes to subsidize services for businesses.

Charlie Pancerzewski,

Twice Former Councilmember,

Mukilteo

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