Chamber Strongly Opposes B&O Tax Increase: CEO encourages members to voice concerns at tonight’s council meeting

David W. Graybill, the President and CEO of Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, is encouraging Chamber members to voice their concerns over the possibility of increasing Tacoma’s B & O tax in order to balance the city’s 2005/2006 biennium budget.

“Mike Weinman (the Chamber’s contracted public affairs specialist) and I have been working over the last couple of months with members of the Tacoma City Council to avoid any increase in the B&O tax,” said Graybill, in an e-mail to Chamber members. “Unfortunately, there are members of the council that are still actively considering raising the tax. The Chamber has taken a strong position against any increase. In fact, we have asked the council to continue its past course of reducing the tax and eventually eliminating it. The B&O tax in Tacoma has hurt the city’s ability to retain companies and recruit new businesses. Any increase would further hinder that effort.”

The City Council is currently working to balance a $29.6 million deficit in their biennium budget. One specific area under consideration is an across-the-board increase of the city’s B&O tax.

“I strongly urge you to consider the effect this increase would have on your company and the local business community,” Graybill said.

An opportunity to appear before the council will take place during the public comment period at tonight’s City Council meeting.