I'm a taxpayer. Personally and professionally, I don't hide a dime, I pay my fair share and then some.
Especially in my business.
My business pays property tax on the equipment and tenant improvements we've already paid for, we pay real estate tax on our rent, collect and pay sales tax, and of course we pay state and federal income tax. This year, I received an invoice from the Board of Equalization for an environmental fee. Businesses with less than 50 employees pay zero, while businesses with 50 employees and over pay according to an increasing fee scale. The fee is then deposited into California’s Toxic Substances Control Account.
Now I understand that the more people that a business employs, the more waste is generated. But this fee assumes that we generate hazardous waste. This isn't true. I may own a hair salon, but our trash is made up of the same things as any other business, with the addition of aluminum foils and tubes containing few, if any, drops of botanically-derived creams. We are an Aveda salon, using botanically derived, non-chemical based beauty products. Our mission is to care for the world we live in. That means we use non-toxic products, and we give back to society. We're setting an example of environmental leadership and responsibility. Our packaging is post-consumer recycled content, and our packaging is also recyclable. We tread lightly on this earth.
We wash biodegradable shampoos down the drain and haircolor that has processed to the point where the hydrogen peroxide, or H2O2, has lost its second molecule of oxygen and just become H2O, or water. Our perm solutions are also derived from plant and flower extracts. We don't use relaxers containing lye. In other words, not all hair salons are created equal.
I resent this fee, which is about $300, because it assumes that we are polluting the waste water and landfills at a level equal to or more than other businesses of our size. Also because it seems that once a small business decides to cross the 50 employee line the state fines you for it.
Make up your mind, California. You want us to hire more people, but you keep heaping more taxes and fees on us. Feels a lot like you're telling small businesses that they're not welcome here. I'm trying to make a difference to my community by offering services and providing a fantastic employment experience. You're finding more ways to make us pay more for the privilege. I think we're working at odds here. I know you need more money. But squeezing more out of the small businesses--the ones who employ 80% of the people in any given community--isn't the best way to go. Small businesses close up faster. They can't shoulder the heavy burdens of more taxes and fees. Please review where you're mining for more. Surely the bigger corporations with the deeper pockets can dial back a profit point to make up for what the smaller mom and pop shops need to stay healthy.
There's my two cents. Plus tax, I'm sure.