Colin McCarthy Got It Wrong
This weekend Costa Mesa Planning Commissioner and former City Council candidate Colin McCarthy produced a commentary in the Daily Pilot titled, "Don't burdern C.M. businesses with higher fees", HERE, that attempts to mislead the readers with inflammatory, inaccurate rhetoric on the subject of a possible Business License Tax increase.
McCarthy attempts to use the red herring that, if the voters were to approve a modest increase in the Business License Tax - it has had NO substantive change in the structure and/or amount since the 1960's - Nordstrom would pull up stakes and shut down the South Coast Plaza store. Hog wash! And, of course, he offers no evidence to confirm his allegation - only his rhetoric.
McCarthy is only regurgitating the party line of those in my Republican Party that are against ANY kind of increase in taxes, even though revenue shortfalls could cripple the ability of Costa Mesa to provide sufficient coverage for public safety - police and fire - and severely limit other services, too. This kind of stubborn, irrational reaction to this serious situation makes us realize that the safety and future of our city is less important to those ideologues than their own personal political agendas.
REALLY? I DON'T THINK SO...
Presently Nordstrom - or any of the other high-grossing, top-tier retailers in Costa Mesa - pays a maximum of $200 per year for a business license. That's a bargain in anybodies book, for sure. And I don't discount the fact that our laughably small tax may attract businesses to our city. But, if it was $400 or $800 for those same folks, would that fact alone cause them to pause when considering Costa Mesa as a business venue, or to leave if they are already here? I doubt it.
No, because the Financial Advisory Committee - packed by the current City Council with folks who share McCarthy's aversion to considering even a modest updating of the Business License Tax - has now shoved off any further discussion of the issue until the impact of recently-acquired software designed to help track down scofflaws who have not paid the tax they owe is known, this issue seems to have been placed into suspended animation for six months. That's what makes McCarthy's commentary so peculiar. Why now?
Well, we are just over a year from the next election that will select at least one new council member, so I suspect McCarthy's ill-timed and inaccurate rant is designed to lay the groundwork for a campaign platform for one or two candidates next year.
COMMENT THREAD IS A "MUST READ"
The comment thread on his commentary is enlightening. Several residents have taken issue with his views and have debunked his claims one at a time. I won't repeat them here, but they're worth reviewing if you're at all interested in this issue.
THE "$10,000" OOPS
A year ago this issue was discussed by the City Council with an eye to placing a proposal before the voters last November. Unfortunately, as part of the staff report presented to the council at the time, Finance and Information Technology Director Bobby Young used one model that would have increased the maximum fee charged to the highest-grossing retailers at $10,000 - a number just pulled out of the air. I watched as, almost like ballet dancers in unison, the council at the time flinched, then rejected any further discussion. Obviously, the memory of that $10,000 number has remained stuck in the memory of some people in power. And, unfortunately, it's impeding any serious discussion of the issue a year later.
CHAMBER DIDN'T FIGHT IT LAST YEAR
The Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce, a body that certainly should have an opinion on this issue, had no negative comments on a possible modest increase last year.
POLITICAL AGENDAS BEFORE RESIDENTS