Are you a small business owner or a worker bee?

Hooray, let’s sock it to the local businesses… again. Are they really the only rich people in town? Business property taxes are higher than residential. Businesses are required to purchase various types of extra insurance such as workman’s comp and customer liability to mention just a couple. They need to also buy a State business license. Membership in the Chamber of Commerce costs money. The free Skagway News summer handout is not free to the advertisers as publishing costs have to be met. If the boss supplies housing to entice workers then a second municipal business license has to be purchased because being a landlord is considered a second business.

Salaries, even 30 years ago, cost the employer twice what the worker takes home because of little items like FICA, etc. You take home $500 your boss has to pay out $1000. Probably more than double these days. And the city get the 5 percent sales tax so the more business one has, the more sales tax one contributes.

Ah, but the local business license is only $10 per business. And it hasn’t gone up for 10 years or more. Let’s increase it by 500 percent and make a few bucks. Why? What is this money going to be designated for? If the town really so broke, let’s forget about the tax break during the winter quarter. Or raise the sales tax to 6 percent.

Because… think about what the local businesses contribute to this town. Every fundraiser expects local businesses to kick in prizes. Ducky Derby; most of the ducks are sponsored (bought) by them. Fireworks display and 4th of July prizes, Little Dippers annual auction and the cancer walk. Services, including free flu shots annually, at the clinic, thousands of dollars worth of scholarships for our graduates each year, the health fair, even prizes for Skagway bowlers. Whether or not residents do our businesses the courtesy of shopping with us they have no problem asking for prizes or cash donations for whatever fundraiser is happening. And local businesses reciprocate in a way unmatched by small businesses in larger communities. We consider ourselves family and part of the fabric of the Skagway Community.

If we can afford a skate park and an outdoor stage we should be able to get by on the income generated by tourism which, by the way, enables a number of locals to stay in business year around, although some of them operate at a loss during winter months. Rather than adding still another cost, and trust me, for the really small home business this paltry $50 is a major expense, reward them for the generosity they provide this community and thus to the city coffers every year. Skip the fee increase entirely.

     Betsey Albecker
    Debbie Ackerman