Thursday, May 16, 2019

SoDo business owner on homeless response: The city is 'trying to destroy us' -

SoDo business owner on homeless response: The city is 'trying to destroy us' -

SoDo business owner on homeless response: The city is 'trying to destroy us' -

Posted: 15 May 2019 02:13 PM PDT

A homeless RV in Seattle's SoDo lot. (KIRO 7)

SoDo small business owner Leslie Shelton's faith in her city is gone.

And at a community safety forum with city leaders Tuesday evening at Ballard's Nordic Museum, she let them know that.

"I tried to sit there and tried to be good — I tried to keep my mouth closed," she told KIRO Radio's Dori Monson the next day. "But the more and more I heard, the more and more frustration kept on building up and up and up."

Her summary of the meeting was, "We need more stats, we need more money, we need more money, we need more money, we need more studies, we need more studies, and then meetings."

In the meantime, she observed, the homeless RVs are increasing.

RELATED: Georgetown bar owner tired of constant burdens from City of Seattle

Shelton previously came on the Dori Monson Show last fall after she was mauled by dogs belonging to people living in an RV down the street from her business. She said at the time that the city had neither forced the RV owners to move, nor given them a citation. The city later cleared out the homeless camp that contained the RV.

She notices a double-standard in her city constantly when it comes to who is held accountable for breaking city laws, especially in SoDo.

"I am just so sick and tired of the fact that there is not equal accountability in this city … When we had 35 RVs around our block, I would actually watch the Seattle parking enforcement drive around and give tickets to cars, but do nothing to the RVs," she said. "The double-standard has got to stop. It has just got to stop."

It makes her feel like the city is actively trying to hurt the regular, hardworking, law-abiding (apart from parking violations) residents, while allowing violent criminals to commit as many crimes as they want.

"How I feel, my husband feels, and a lot of other individuals who I know who are small business owners is, they're trying to destroy us," she said. "They're trying to take everything away. For whom?"

She can only guess that city leaders must want "society to become lawless."

As Shelton said at the meeting, she wants services given to the people on the streets who want them. For those who don't, she'd rather see that money go to the police department to better fight crime. Handouts without steps toward recovery just enable those on the streets to keep using drugs and sleeping outdoors.

"Let's help the moms and the kids, let's help the young kids who want to get off the streets — I'm all about that," she said. "But these other individuals? They do not want [help] because they don't need it, because we give them everything for free."

Not every project at City Hall is fruitless, however, according to Shelton. She praised the Business Improvement Areas, the 10 locally-managed designated business districts that work toward neighborhood improvements. SoDo BIA Director Erin Goodman has been a great voice for the area's mom-n-pops, Shelton said.

"They're our advocates, they're the ones who are actually trying to get something done, they're the ones who are out on the streets on a daily basis listening to us, trying to work with the city," she said.

Still, she said, the city doesn't allow BIA workers to exercise the full extent of their potential to help businesses. Like police officers, "they're doing the best they can, but their hands are tied."

What do Shelton and the other business owners want to see from city leaders? Accountability and honesty.

"They're sugar-coating it and it's a bunch of fluff," she said. "I wish that these people could be honest, that they could actually share with the public, with the Seattle community, exactly what's going on."

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Change proposed to the way Ohio taxes businesses and business owners -

Posted: 16 May 2019 06:29 AM PDT

Nathan Bachrach and Amy Wagner Published 9:29 a.m. ET May 16, 2019 | Updated 9:49 a.m. ET May 16, 2019

I have heard that changes are being proposed to the way businesses are taxed in Ohio. Is this true, and if so, will you explain?

Indeed, the latest budget proposal from the Ohio House of Representatives included an increase of $1.2 billion in business taxes. While the overall proposal cuts income taxes across the board by 6.6%, it will retroactively increase taxes on pass-through-entity (PTE) business owners back to January 1, 2019. This will have a significant impact on many of our readers if eventually approved by the Ohio Senate and signed into law by Governor DeWine.

As an example, if a small business owner is operating a PTE that generates $200,000 this year in business income, and he or she doesn't have any other income or deductions to claim, they will pay $2,774 in new tax under the current proposal, where previously they didn't pay any personal income tax on this income.

What does this mean for the Ohio Business Income Deduction?

A little background: Effective for tax year 2013, Ohio enacted what is now called The Ohio Business Income Deduction (BID) for PTE owners. In tax year 2016, the BID enabled a business owner who files single or married filing jointly to deduct 100% of business income up to $250,000 from the adjusted gross income they report on their Ohio personal income tax return. Married filing separate filers can deduct 100% of business income up to $125,000.  Any remaining business income above these thresholds is taxed at a flat 3% rate. This legislation was designed to increase jobs and mitigate Ohio's broad municipal income tax system, as well as to help level the taxation playing field between PTE businesses and C Corporations.  While PTE businesses and C Corps both pay the Commercial Activity Tax, PTE owners must also pay personal income tax on that same business income, while C corporations do not pay Ohio income tax. 

With the latest budget proposal from the House, this deduction will be cut by 60%, lowering the maximum deduction to $100,000 (or $50,000 per spouse). This could increase the taxes of a small business owner by $4,500 . The flat 3% rate for qualified income above the threshold is completely eliminated, and may increase to as much as 4.667%.   Also of concern:  these proposed changes include an effective date back to Jan. 1, 2019, meaning business owners may have made 2019 capital investments and hired new employees based on tax savings they will not realize and will have new tax obligations they didn't budget for.

In combination with Ohio's average municipal tax rate, this increase could make the state's combined state and local tax rate for businesses one of the highest in the region. 

Who is eligible for the Ohio Business Income Deduction?
Owners of and investors in businesses structured as sole proprietorships and PTEs qualify for this tax deduction. PTEs include: partnerships, Subchapter S corporations (S-corps) and Limited Liability Companies (LLCs). Income generated by the business and passed through to the owners/investors is subject to personal income tax. The deduction, originally Ohio's small business investor income deduction, was first effective for Ohio-sourced business income earned in taxable year 2013 and claimed on income tax returns filed in 2014. Beginning in tax year 2015, the deduction was expanded to include eligible business income from all sources regardless of where the income was earned.

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What do these changes mean for Ohio business owners?
While state personal income tax rates are proposed to decrease by 6.6% across the board and be eliminated for all making $22,250 or less with the current proposal, the budgetary burden is essentially shifting to PTE business owners and also applying what could be a significant, retroactive increase in their state taxes. Depending on the size of your business, if they become law, the changes could have big implications for how you are taxed this year and into the future. 

If you are an Ohio business owner, it is important to understand how these proposed changes could impact you. We only touched on a few of the proposed changes—there are many others that might affect you or your business moving forward. Speak with a tax professional now about what this could mean for you, and consider contacting your state legislators with questions or concerns.  

Tom Cooney and Crystal Faulkner are partners with MCM CPAs & Advisors, a CPA and advisory firm offering expert guidance and beyond the bottom line thinking for today's public and private businesses large and small, not-for-profits, governmental entities and individuals. For additional information, call 513-768-6796 or visit us online at You can listen to Tom and Crystal daily on WMKV and WLHS on BusinessWise, a morning and afternoon radio show that profiles highly successful people, companies, organizations and issues throughout our region.  Crystal is also the incoming President-elect for the Ohio Society of CPAs. 

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Pike County Business Owner Raises Money For Homeless High School Graduates - LEX18 Lexington KY News

Posted: 16 May 2019 12:38 PM PDT

PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18)- A Pike County business owner is raising money to help homeless students as they graduate from area high schools.

Business owner Mike Johnson started a Facebook giving page to help raise money for a particular group of 150 teens who will be receiving their diplomas.

All 150 students are homeless.

Johnson was moved to collect funds to give the students graduation gifts.

"I am accepting monetary donations in my store to buy gifts for the Pike County homeless students graduating this month. It's amazing with the life they've been handed they've not only stayed in school but they are also graduating from high school! I hope we are able to help make their achievement a very special one!" wrote Johnson

Donations are being collected in-person at Johnson's Home & Garden and also through the Facebook fundraiser.

So far, the online donation page has raised $1500 in one week.

Small businesses got shut out from tax reform benefits, says Reno business owner - Reno Gazette Journal

Posted: 14 May 2019 01:17 PM PDT

Tonda Benge Published 1:17 p.m. PT May 14, 2019 | Updated 1:43 p.m. PT May 14, 2019


According to OnePoll, worrying about work could take an even bigger toll on the business and the owner. The study was conducted on behalf of Buzz60

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This opinion column was written by Tonda Benge, owner of Professional Dog Mom, the K-9 Nannies, in Reno.

What helps small businesses prosper? Encouraging people to "Shop Local" definitely helps. Each year, Small Business Week gives my business a boost.

Not so the Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Although proponents of the law vowed to "help small business," the hollowness of that promise became obvious this tax season.

Here's what I know. I paid more taxes after the law passed; I paid my accountant more because she had to make so many manual adjustments to comply with new complexities created by the law; and, for the first time, I had to withdraw money from my savings to pay my taxes in the first quarter of this year. Normally I only have to raid my savings in the fourth quarter

I own Professional Dog Mom, the K-9 Nannies, a dog-handler service in Reno. Since I took in my first canine client as a solo entrepreneur three years ago, I have brought on 11 employees and built a client roster of 200 dogs. Last year we were named the State of Nevada SBA Small Business Champion. For all our success, we, like most small business owners, are not treated the same as large corporations when it comes to taxes.

More: 2019: Small business trends to watch | UNR Business

Compare my situation to a few global giants. While I lost several favorable deductions due to the tax law, JP Morgan benefitted to the tune of $3.7 billion. Harley-Davidson shaved about 10 percent off the taxes it pays on about $1 billion in profit. The promise from Congress was that these companies would use that savings to pay employees more and to stimulate hiring. Instead, many of these large corporations sank their windfall into corporate stock buybacks that feathered the nests of already wealthy investors. In one egregious example, Harley-Davidson bought back nearly $700 million in stocks just days after announcing a plant closure.

Not only does this different treatment of large and small businesses seem unfair, it diminishes the real social and economic value of America's entrepreneurs. For all the attention paid to giant corporations, small business owners are the true job creators. Together we account for 99.9 percent of all businesses and employ 59 million people — nearly half of all private-sector jobs.

Last year, firms employing fewer than 20 employees led the nation in hiring, adding 1.9 million jobs. Chances are those employers include your neighborhood café, daycare center, beauty salon or a dog handling service like mine. Chances are you, your children, your spouse, your partner or your friend gets a paycheck from one of these employers. Chances are, as a customer, you know that business owner's name. Where is the tax reform to help them hire and give raises?

According to a March poll by Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform, my experience with the tax code falls right in line with the majority of small businesses. Nearly three-quarters of small business owners said they were not able to hire new employees due to the law, and about two-thirds said they were not able to give raises, pay off loans or invest in equipment or construction.

Furthermore, the findings demonstrate that small business owners are keenly aware of the inequities in the new tax law, and that they want those inequities rectified. Sixty-five percent of small businesses support rolling back the 40 percent corporate tax cut to fund policies that help small businesses and the same percentage say corporations do not pay their fair share in taxes. Nearly 60 percent say corporations benefitted the most from the new tax law, while just 9 percent think small businesses benefitted most.

Entrepreneurship may be the quintessential American dream, but it's also a huge risk. I left a lucrative 9-to-5 job as a supply-chain analyst to start Professional Dog Mom. I would like to see some tax policies that truly help the people who take this risk. We would all benefit if the tax code encouraged entrepreneurs to open new businesses and helped grow their existing ones.

Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform asked small business owners what tax policies would help them flourish. The responses make sense: Equalizing the tax savings rate between small and large businesses; making the first $25,000 in profit for a small business tax-free; simplifying the tax code; giving small businesses relief on payroll taxes; doubling the startup tax deduction; and creating a tax credit for a small business owner hiring their first employee.

Let's celebrate local entrepreneurs. Make it a point to try that new bakery down the street, investigate that been-there-forever diner or finally get to that family-owned nursery with the rare orchids.

And let's begin working toward real, grass-roots tax reform. Large corporations had their chance to help the economy, but they just pocketed the cash. Let's give small business a shot.

Have your say: How to submit an opinion column or letter to the editor

Tonda Benge is the owner of Professional Dog Mom, the K-9 Nannies, in Reno, Nevada.

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Local business owner threatens to appeal solar farm approval - Lewiston Sun Journal

Posted: 16 May 2019 02:00 AM PDT

OXFORD — A local business owner has threatened to appeal the Planning Board's approval of the site application for a $12. 2 million solar farm, off Route 26 and Number 6 Road, if the project proponents do not provide erosion control protection for his abutting junkyard salvage business.

"I'm fighting for my business and livelihood," Bill Penfold, owner of Oxford Auto Salvage located at 117 Number 6 Road, told the Planning Board at its May 9 meeting. The business prepares and scrap motor vehicles and metal for recycling

Penfold claims that an inspector from the Department of Environmental Protection hazardous waste division has told him that if the water table on his property goes up another foot, his business will be shut down. The business is located across the street from the entrance to the Oxford County Regional Airport and from the solar farm project.

The entrance to Oxford Auto Salvage, pictured above, is across the street from a section of the proposed solar farm on Number Six Road in Oxford. Leslie H. Dixon


"If the water table goes up, I'm out of business," said Penfold. The business is in a residential and commercial area where many on Route 26 get water from the town while homes off Route 26 are generally served by private wells.

Penfold and about a half a dozen abutters posed various questions at the April 11 public hearing, including concern over water runoff from the project site which is described as a "farm field" that will be mowed no more than two times year.

The Department of Environmental Protection has issued a permit approval, with conditions, for the project, which lies within the Little Androscoggin River watershed, saying the runoff will be treated by re-vegetated ares which will act as meadow storm water buffers. The DEP stated that the project site is not located over a mapped sand and gravel aquifer and does not propose any withdrawal from or discharge to the groundwater.

The permit approval report further states that the DEP has found the project is "unlikely to cause or increase flooding or cause an unreasonable flood hazard to any structure."

That information did not, however, allay Penfold's concerns.

"If the water table goes up a foot, he's (a DEP inspector) going to shut me down," Penfold told the Planning Board.

Penfold is permitted to have a number of hazardous wastes on his property including oil, gasoline and other "nasty stuff" as he described them to Planning Board members. But concern by state officials that the high water table could push the hazardous waste into the groundwater, which is regulated by the Maine Hazardous Waste Management Regulations, prompted Penfold to ask the Planning Board to impose protection for his property.

Penfold asked that the developer be mandated as a condition of its Planning Board permit approval to build a berm, perhaps 30 feet in length, while they grub and grade the existing 38-acre project site, as a preventative measure to water runoff on his business site.

Planning Board members told Penfold that they can not mandate that condition, but Penfold could contact the developer on his own.

Shawn Thieo of CES, who represented the project at the May 9 meeting, said the developer wants to be a good neighbor and although he had no authority to approve such a change in plan, he assumed the developer would be willing to discuss the situation further with the business owner.

Prior concerns

Oxford Auto Slavage is one of 225 businesses and individuals, ranging from the Oxford Casino to Central Maine Power and the Town of Oxford and others, that has reported at least one spill to the Department of Environmental Protection since the 1980s.

Penfold has had three investigations launched by the DEP against his business including two from anonymous calls to the DEP in 2007 and 2010. In those two cases no violation was found.

But in 2008, investigators issued Penfold a notice of violation after responding to a report from the Department of Environmental Protection Solid Waste Division staff of "mismanagement and unreported oil discharges" at the auto salvage site.

"Significant volumes of contaminated soil on site" consisting of oil, plastics and metals from years of vehicle crushing was reportedly found by DEP inspectors, according to a 2008 report from Department of Environmental Protection.

According to the DEP, Penfold resolved the problem by shoveling the contaminated soils into the back of a dump truck and rinsing away the sand with a hose then putting the soil in cars that were crushed and sent out to be recycled. Penfold claimed the soil was not entering the nearby brook, a tributary of Thompson Lake, or nearby wetland, according to DEP documents. Sampling indicated no significant impact to the nearby stream, according to the report.

The DEP reported that the recycling facility refused to accept the soil filled cars once they discovered what was happening.

Despite the fact that the current 2019 DEP permit states that the project site is not on any mapped  sand and gravel aquifer, it appears that in 2008 the department was aware of a "significant" sand and gravel aquifer in the area and questioned whether the salvage business should have been licensed by the town because of it.

According to the final report issued in 2008 by the DEP Oil and Hazardous Waste Division, "the terrain is flat and overlies a significant sand and gravel aquifer." The industrial storm water inspector noted in the final report that she understood "salvage yards are prohibited in areas over s & g (sand and gravel) aquifers and are not supposed to be licensed by the local  municipality."

The business was formerly a junkyard before Penfold purchased it.

The inspector noted several unreported oil spills and said the owner that the oil soaked soil had been placed in cars that were to be crushed. Penfold had been told by the DEP to stop the practice.

Penfold has 30 days from the May 9 decision to appeal the Planning Board decision and the Appeals Board then has 35 days to act on the appeal.

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