LAWMAKER WANTS LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO STOP BILKING SMALL BUSINESS
|| By FITSNEWS || For those of you unfamiliar with South Carolina politics, “The Quinndom” (a.k.a. the political organization run by veteran consultant Richard Quinn, Sr.) is the state’s most influential political empire.
Unfortunately, despite it’s “Republican” label – it is rarely a source of pro-free market, pro-liberty policy.
This week appears to be the exception to that rule, though.
S.C. Rep. Rick Quinn, Jr. – the crown prince of the “Quinndom” and one of the most influential lawmakers at the S.C. State House – has rolled out legislation that seems right up our alley.
Specifically, Quinn wants to cap the amount cities and towns can charge on business license fees – which are routinely abused by corrupt, money-hungry local municipalities.
Like you, we’ve heard many of the horror stories related to the unfair imposition of these fees …
For example … a carpenter is in the midst of fixing a broken porch rail for a neighbor when a city bureaucrat rolls up and demands to see his license. The carpenter, of course, doesn’t have one – so he gets popped with a fine. Not only that, the city demands a cut of his take.
According to Quinn, the current licensing system is “grossly unfair and an outrageous assault on small business.”
“When you pay a license fee based on gross rather than net income, small businesses that are losing money or barely making ends meet are being forced to pay what amounts to a tax on their business expenses,” Quinn said.
And since the costs of state and federal taxes are included in the fee calculation, “cities are literally taxing the money businesses use to pay taxes.”
Not only that, municipalities routinely impose arbitrary “classifications” aimed at protecting certain businesses – and penalizing others.
“This system empowers city revenue collectors to soak certain businesses and give favored treatment to others,” Quinn said.
Quinn’s legislation – dubbed the “The Business License Tax Reform Act” – would scrap the current system and impose several strict guidelines on municipalities imposing business license fees.
- All businesses will be treated equally in the calculation of business license fees. Multiple “classifications” with different rate structures would no longer be allowed.
- The license fees assessed will no longer be based on gross income. License fees will be based on annual net earnings or profits of the businesses, a number that is readily available on business tax returns.
- There will be a cap of no more than $100 annually for business license fees.
According to Quinn, his reforms would amount to an annual tax break of around $240 million – money that would be kept in the state’s economy as opposed to being sucked up by local bureaucracies.
Naturally, we support such an effort. That’s a big chunk of change that could help empower the state’s consumer economy and actually create jobs – you know, as opposed to paying for jobs.
In fact, we don’t care one iota if critics of Quinn’s bill refer to it as a violation of “home rule” – or a local government’s right to set the tax and fee rates it deems appropriate. Our view on home rule is simple: If invoking it reduces taxes, fees or government spending, we’re all for it. But if it raises taxes, fees and government spending – we’re against it.
Is that a little bit hypocritical? Probably … but like Quinn we’re sick and tired of seeing so many South Carolina small businesses get the shaft.
We support Quinn’s effort to regulate South Carolina’s unfair municipal business fees. Hopefully both the S.C. House of Representatives, the S.C. Senate and governor Nikki Haley will join him in his bid to reform the system – and provide nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in tax relief to those businesses who need it the most in the process.