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Commentary: Q Down
KC Vafiadis | Camino Del Mar


When the Finance Committee originally came to the Business Support Advisory with a way to raise money to underground all of Del Mar’s utility lines by raising sales tax 1%, I think they were a bit surprised that we didn’t embrace the idea.

The concept then morphed to a general fund sales tax increase naming many things the money could be used for. As a group, we were clear that if there was something specific the City needed and this was the preferred way to raise the money, we could support it. Generally, the rationale for a sales tax increase is to benefit the entire community equally (For example: police, fire, city infrastructure, etc.). The majority of the people that will be hurt by a tax increase, the businesses, don’t have a say because they are not residents of Del Mar. Just because they don’t live here, doesn’t mean that they don’t care about this community. We all want to see Del Mar remain the charming little town that brought my family here 50 years ago.

Businesses are already Struggling On-line sales are taking business from retailers. With the increase in minimum wage, labor has increased and cost of goods has increased. The businesses rely heavily on the tourists they want to tax, potentially pushing customers to our neighboring communities.

New Business Recruitment — Del Mar has a high vacancy rate and losing more business will diminish the overall tax base. Additionally, Del Mar has higher business license fees, more restrictive zoning regulations, cumbersome parking restrictions and a negative image for potential businesses. It would be nice if we could attract a market, a bakery or the kind of businesses that the residents want and could use.

The negative PR—$ Grab— An increase in sales tax without a truly legitimate, identified purpose is simply taxing the people just because they can. Raising the sales tax to put it into the general fund is like throwing money into a black hole. We are already known as the City with strict enforcement for businesses and visitors alike. Now we will also be the City with the highest tax rate in the County. Not a very welcoming image.

 

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