Chamber launches ‘aggressive’ tax fight

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The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday issued a call to arms throughout the business community to “fight a potential $2.7 million tax hike on businesses, nonprofits and associations” proposed by Alexandria City Council.

“We are calling all the troops in to make sure our voice is heard. Council needs to hear us loud and clear,” said Chamber President and CEO Tina Leone.

“Alexandria businesses are still working to recover from the worst economic climate in decades. While we understand that the city must work to plug budget gaps, the answer is not to unduly burden local businesses with yet another new tax,” Leone said.

The creation of a commercial “add-on” tax for business property, an idea floated this month by Council, would stunt business growth at a time of economic recovery, according to the Chamber. Therefore, Leone announced the “launch of an aggressive advocacy campaign” to fight the new tax using e-mail alerts to members, newspaper advertisements, attending Council meetings and other efforts. 

A new tax on commercial property would not only impact property owners, but also could lead to higher business rents, slow job growth and create a less attractive economic climate for attracting new businesses, the Chamber announcement stated. Additionally, the Chamber claimed the proposed tax would have an adverse national impact, potentially harming many trade and professional associations and nonprofits based in Alexandria.

The Chamber has put forth an alternative proposal a one-cent increase in both residential and commercial property taxes to ensure that all constituencies utilizing city services duly share the burden. This proposal would free the city to utilize new tax revenues for general fund purposes rather than only transportation projects called for in a commercial add-on tax, according to the Chamber’s analysis.

“We call upon all businesses in Alexandria to send a clear message to City Council that a new and costly tax on local businesses is wrong for Alexandria,” Leone said. “This is just the beginning of our fight,” she stated.

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