Mack McLamb: Hidden sales tax

April 14, 2014 

Your April 11 editorial “ Wrong target” failed to tell the whole story. I am a small Triangle business owner being hurt by privilege license taxes. I operate 16 stores in 12 cities within 100 miles of one another and pay privilege license taxes ranging between $35 in Dunn, $50 in Garner, thousands in Raleigh (subject to a $20,000 cap) and an uncapped amount in Durham.

Privilege license taxes were not meant to be a local business income tax, yet increases in privilege license taxes are spreading, and cities are becoming more brazen about this being a revenue source. In a low-margin business like the grocery industry, all expenses must be factored into our business model and prices adjusted accordingly. This is just a hidden sales tax on consumers. We pay our property taxes, business license fees and trash collection fees and collect the sales tax free that the city of Raleigh spends freely.

We are happy to pay our share, but it is not practical or equitable to pay thousands of dollars in local privilege license taxes while some pay nothing or $25 for the same privilege.

Mack McLamb, Dunn

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