Stafford BOS manages to please absolutely no one.

Which is always a politician’s goal, right? :)

The Stafford BOS voted to impose a Business and Professional Occupancy License (BPOL) tax starting in January 2010.

Well, from the right side of the aisle, here’s what D. J. McGuire had to say about it at The right-wing liberal:

Indeed it is, and there is hardly a tax more damaging than BPOL, which is a tax on revenue, not profit. Moreover, this business crippling tax was first implemented for emergency purposes only – to let Virginia counties recover from the damage done by the War of 1812.

Yes, you read that right – the War of 1812.

So now, both anchor counties in the Fredericksburg area will be reeling from tax increases: property taxes in Spotsylvania and BPOL is Stafford. The local economy is in deep trouble.

Also from the right side, there’s Eric Martin at Rappahannock Red:

Stafford County Democrats George Schwartz, Joe Brito, Bob Woodson and Harry Crisp have approved a highly controversial businesses tax, called the Business, Professional and Occupational License or “BPOL” in a meeting that stretched until later than 3:00 am!

These liberals call it a “revenue generator” for the cash-strapped jurisdiction, but let’s be clear: RAISING TAXES IS NOT A REVENUE GENERATOR- it’s a TAX INCREASE!

And from the left side of the aisle, there’s Dan Smolen at Fred2Blue:

The proponents will tell you that BPOL was intended, among other things, to stabilize the wild year-to-year fluctuations in Stafford County’s revenue stream and make sure that there would always be enough money in the annual budget for schools, public safety, and other requirements. We were told that its passage would end the yearly bickering over school funding.

Yet, we now hear the resulting package – negotiated on, then voted in 4-3 by the seven bleary-eyed board members – earmarks all of the revenue from BPOL for transportation improvement. From the FL-S:

The entire board, however, agreed that revenue generated by BPOL will be used to upgrade county roads and help pay the debt service on a potential transportation bond.

So much for stabilizing school-funding.

The next local election in Stafford in November 2009 should be interesting as both D. J. and Dan point out as well.

UPDATE: Dan Smolen posted the following comment, which I’m adding so neither I or anyone else take his original post out of context:

Tim, per the headline of this post, I think the characterization that no one is pleased is inaccurate.

While I and other “Pro-Business Dems” remain opposed to this version of BPOL (because it is regressive, a bureaucracy that in the end won’t raise that much in revenue, possibility punitive to small but growing businesses, and because the timing of the passage of BPOL in a recession is truly ill-advised), there actually are many supporters of BPOL in Stafford (Democratic, Independent, and Republican).

Really, this is not a left/right issue, although the Stafford BOS members in Republican the minority would have anyone believe that. As sure as the sun comes up tomorrow, they will continue to make political hay of it. Truth be told, the rhetoric on both sides (pro-BPOL vs. anti-BPOL) remains way overmodulated.

We do need new revenue in the county, for sure, and lots of it. Our schools and our critical services are severely underfunded.

We pro-biz Dems are not making our pro-BPO friends happy with our public skepticism. But being small-business owners first, politicians second, we must do all that we can to support the business community and encourage new businesses to arrive in Stafford, and stay.

That’s what will generate the revenue we need.

He brings up an excellent point about the bureaucracy involved. How many additional positions are going to be required at the Commissioner of Revenue’s Office and/or Treasurer’s Office to properly assess and administer these new business’s taxes?

2 Comments

  1. Dan Smolen says:

    Tim, per the headline of this post, I think the characterization that no one is pleased is inaccurate.

    While I and other “Pro-Business Dems” remain opposed to this version of BPOL (because it is regressive, a bureaucracy that in the end won’t raise that much in revenue, possibility punitive to small but growing businesses, and because the timing of the passage of BPOL in a recession is truly ill-advised), there actually are many supporters of BPOL in Stafford (Democratic, Independent, and Republican).

    Really, this is not a left/right issue, although the Stafford BOS members in Republican the minority would have anyone believe that. As sure as the sun comes up tomorrow, they will continue to make political hay of it. Truth be told, the rhetoric on both sides (pro-BPOL vs. anti-BPOL) remains way overmodulated.

    We do need new revenue in the county, for sure, and lots of it. Our schools and our critical services are severely underfunded.

    We pro-biz Dems are not making our pro-BPO friends happy with our public skepticism. But being small-business owners first, politicians second, we must do all that we can to support the business community and encourage new businesses to arrive in Stafford, and stay.

    That’s what will generate the revenue we need.

  2. Crissy says:

    Hello. My name is Crissy. I own Maintreet Grill and Bar. I started working at Mainstreet in September 2002 as a waitress, within three months I was a bartender, and then bar manager. In September 2005, I was offered to purchase Mainstreet. Finally in January of 2006 I took over. Let me tell you I HAD NO IDEA HOW TO RUN A BUSINESS! And I am still learning everyday!
    Like most small businesses Mainstreet pays alot of taxes. Sales Tax, Food Tax,Personal Property Taxes etc…Going on my 2 1/2 year mark I can say, slowly we have survived when other places have closed. My great staff and local regulars have helped us! Two Mondays ago I got an email that was a forward of a forward of a forward from Supervisor Milde and I was amazed that I haven’t spent time finding out what had been going on in the “grassroots” of Stafford! My husband just started a business in Stafford. He also received Mr. Milde’s email. (From a forward) After talking with each other we decided to go to the BOS meeting. After along day at work I told my sitter I would be back in an hour! Well we were there to the end! My husband spoke! He told me to get up there but I was way to emotional to get up and speak. What kind of business women would I be to sit in front of these men and cry (I mean with tears down my face) like a big baby!!! At first I was mad at the four members of the board that voted for the BPOL. But I realize that I should also be mad at myself for not paying attention to what was going on in our county. I decided my best place to speak would be at my bar with local residents. So since that night I have gotten on my soap box and spoke to my customers. Not only telling them what I learned this past week but getting more information and learning more!

    I would like to get Stafford Residents involved. I was thinking the last Tuesday of each month we can all meet at Mainstreet for a “GRASSROOT MEETING”. This has nothing to do with “business” I’m not looking for people to come in and spend money. (And if they do spend alittle money on beer and food…I will just be paying more taxes to Stafford County so it works out for both of us..lol) This is intended for people to come and learn (like me) and/or discuss local, commonwealth and federal issues. No matter what party you are. I would like to invite different state and local political people in here to discuss the issues. Maybe start a Voter registration here! I just need to get involved and the best way for me to do it is through my business.

    1st GRASSROOT MEETING AT MAINSTREET WILL BE JULY 29 7pm-9pm

    540-288-9277 Mainstreet

    “The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.”

    Ronald Reagan

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