Blaine Business and Occupation Tax (B&O Tax)
Business and Occupation Tax
The Blaine City Council will hold two public hearings about a Business and Occupation tax for manufacturing and wholesale businesses. The dates of the public hearings are February 11 and 25, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers, 435 Martin Street, Suite 4000, Blaine, WA 98230. The community is invited and encouraged to take part.
What is the city proposing?
The City Council will consider passing a 0.2% (two tenths of one percent) Business and Occupation tax on manufacturing and wholesale businesses in the city of Blaine. This amount would be applied to gross receipts for these businesses earning $20,000 or more.
Why is the city considering this?
The demand for city services is exceeding the revenue available to provide them.
How are city services funded?
Services are primarily funded by a tax on some utilities, a sales tax, and a property tax levy. The property tax levy is restricted to a one percent increase in revenue per year. In addition, strict legal guidelines prohibit reallocation of funds from one city service to another. For example, money from utilities cannot be used for other city services, such as police or public safety.
Has the city made cuts to its budget?
Yes, extensively. The city has cut staffing, expenses and services to maintain a balanced budget. As a result, we have not been able to make a substantial investment in economic development. Maintenance of city parks and public buildings has suffered, as well.
Public safety has been particularly hard hit by workforce reductions with just one police officer available to respond to calls at times. This a concern because the demand for police services continues to increase as our population grows and more businesses locate to Blaine.
Why focus on manufacturing and wholesale businesses?
Residents and visitors already pay property, sales and utility taxes to fund city services.
Manufacturing and wholesale businesses do not contribute to sales tax revenue like retail or service businesses yet still require city services, such as roads and police.
What will the B&O Tax fund?
Funding would be used to promote economic development, including more police officers, police vehicle replacement, a faster 911 system, well-maintained parks, and a program to help the manufacturing industry find and retain workers.