Editor, The Times:
By now we have all read about how the District of Clearwater alleges that business licensing will benefit the community by bringing in revenues that will fund economic development.
However, as was pointed out, the additional bureaucracy of licensing will undoubtedly exhaust the very funds it generates, thus making it superfluous.
The city claims licensing will lend some sort of credence or legitimacy to existing businesses. In a town like Clearwater a business exists solely on the merit of its own reputation, which, like rumors, spreads faster than grits through a goose!
The notion that it will somehow allow for fire inspections is not true, as all commercially zoned premises already receive fire inspections.
Likewise, suggesting that the cost of such will be more fairly borne by the businesses and not the community is also ludicrous, as just where do they think overhead and additional operation costs end up? They, like property taxes, heating, insurance, etc, are reflected in business leasing costs, which in turn determine the costs of the goods and services the businesses provide to the community, and so are eventually passed on the consumer – you and I (also known as the community).
Also, GST, PST, and Workers Compensation have nothing to do with municipal business licensing, as they are provincial and federal programs that every business already handles.
Perhaps the most ridiculous statement was proposing that licensing would include membership in the Chamber of Commerce! Not only is it presumptuous but I should think it is highly illegal, as the chamber is a non-governmental, non-profit, private enterprise. To suggest mandatory membership would no doubt invoke legal challenges.
Clearwater small businesses have had to struggle with a dormant local economy and the competition of big-box stores in Kamloops where many opt to do their shopping. The last thing they need is yet another level of government with its hand in their pockets while giving the business community nothing tangible in return.
So, what does business licensing do? I’ll tell you. It simply extorts fees from local businesses to bolster a burgeoning bureaucracy.
How was it possible that Clearwater sustained a business community before incorporation?
The best thing government of any level can ever do to help small business is to stay out of it.