City Council members sharply criticized a state-mandated fee on businesses Tuesday before passing the $1 annual fee 4-1.
According to the city, the $1 annual fee imposed on business licenses aims to curb frivolous lawsuits against businesses to make them ADA compliant.
The fee is effective starting Jan.1 through Dec. 1, 2018.
The money will go toward raising awareness for building owners and tenants on Americans with Disabilities Act laws.
“I find it to be very discouraging,” Council Member Judy Nelson said. “At a time when we have businesses struggling to survive – forget about trying to flourish, but trying to survive – another tax is being opposed on them.”
While a $1 fee on businesses won’t harm businesses, Nelson said the fee continued a trend that encouraged taxing businesses and individuals to make up for state officials’ inability to responsibly balance the state’s budget.
While the council did not support the fee, members said they were faced with the choice of either taxing businesses or taking the money out of the city’s general fund.
The council passed the $1 fee on business licenses 4-1, with Mayor Pro Tem Joe Santoro voting no.
“The way the state is pushing out these taxes is just deplorable,” Santoro said.