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Breaking the backbone

People are always saying that small business is the backbone of the economy. This seems to consistently be among the top five mantras of economists and politicians alike.

As the fight over taxes rages, government agencies are becoming more and more desperate to find sources of funds. The city, the county, the state and the feds, all are supported by tax dollars. Costs are going up for them just they are for individuals. Combine that with the fanatical opposition to raising taxes at any level in any form and sum of the equation is an orders of magnitude increase in the level of desperation being felt by government agencies.

Where do they have to turn? Rates. Fines. Fees. The great majority of which are levied against small businesses.

We have seen astonishing rate increases from everything from water and sewer rates, permit fees, inspection fees, you name it. And parking! Here in our town, parking fines have increased from five bucks to $40 in a few years’ time. Our water bill rivals our electric bill and it seems like the things get more and more restrictive, resulting in more fines for those who don't have time (who does?) to stay abreast of the ever changing regulations.

It seems like every time a big corporation moves in, municipalities bend over backwards to allow variances that make things more favorable for them. They have no problem improving streets, installing stoplights, whatever. And it's understandable because the big guys can pay taxes and generate sales that beget more tax dollars. But it never seems to be enough and the pressure on the small businesses increases. At some point, someone is going to have to realize that bones can be broken.


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