Proposal could change where street vendors do business in Franklin - Tennessean

Proposal could change where street vendors do business in Franklin - Tennessean


Proposal could change where street vendors do business in Franklin - Tennessean

Posted: 28 Apr 2021 06:54 AM PDT

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City leaders are considering an ordinance that would change how street vendors do business — a move that if approved could harm some of the city's most vulnerable residents. 

The proposal, which comes amid complaints about vendors selling newspapers in Franklin's downtown district, would ban street vendors from selling within 50 feet of certain restaurants. 

Assistant City Administrator Vernon Gerth said during a Board of Mayor and Aldermen work session meeting on April 27 that some residents were concerned about people selling newspapers on sidewalks near outdoor cafes. Alderman Dana McLendon also asked Gerth to look into the possibility of creating an ordinance, but said that he didn't want to "unreasonably restrict the activity."

While the proposal didn't name specific vendors or organizations, it would likely affect vendors of The Contributor, a street newspaper benefiting Middle Tennessee's homeless community.

The ordinance proposal was sparked by a longtime vendor who wasn't aware he was causing problems for a new restaurant, Contributor Executive Director Cathy Jennings told The Tennessean. Once the newspaper became aware of the issue, Jennings said, staff and the vendor met with the restaurant owner and immediately resolved the issue. 

"There are current statutes in place to define how far from a business entrance a vendor can sell. When a conflict arises outside of those statutes, we work with, and will continue to work with, the property owner to resolve the conflict," Jennings said. "Defining arbitrary boundaries could absolutely negatively affect a vendor's income who has developed a good customer base where he is welcome. "   

Franklin Pastor Kevin Riggs, who works with people in the city who are experiencing homelessness, estimated in 2019 that there were up to 1,000 people who were homeless in Williamson County — Tennessee's wealthiest community. A new group home to help the county's unhoused population is in the works. 

What it would mean 

If approved, the ordinance would amend city code to include a section barring "temporary sidewalk encroachments" by vendors, performers and the sellers of newspapers or magazines and the like. 

"The regulations contained herein are not intended to prohibit or hamper speech which is protected by the First Amendment, but merely to regulate the location of these activities to ensure that the public right-of-way remains accessible and useful for their intended purpose while accommodating for activities to lawfully and safely use the public right-of-way," the proposal states. 

Gerth said there were "plenty of intersections" for the papers to be sold "legally." In 2012, city leaders considered banning sales from people on the street to people in cars. 

"We went through this free speech thing years ago, and the outcome was that we are not able to control or keep people from soliciting on the corners of these streets," said Alderman At Large Clyde Barnhill. "So we need to make sure we're in compliance with whatever we need to be in compliance with."

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A court in 2014 affirmed neighboring city Brentwood's decision to ban sales of newspapers on the city's roadways and near intersections. City leaders said at the time they were concerned with the vendors' safety being near passing cars.

The ban resulted in public outcry and a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union. The city and The Contributor were entangled in the lawsuit for years before the court's decision. 

The proposal will be discussed again during a work session May 11. The board will review a map of where the vendors would be prohibited if the proposal is approved. The city will invite restaurant owners and vendor representatives to the meeting. 

Reach Brinley Hineman at bhineman@tennessean.com and on Twitter @brinleyhineman. To stay updated on Williamson County news, sign up for our newsletter. 

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Business Owners Oppose Cigarette Tax Proposal - Lexington News Gazette

Posted: 27 Apr 2021 09:00 PM PDT

There are no tax increases in Rockbridge County's budget for fiscal year 2022 that was approved Monday by the Board of Supervisors. Consideration is being given, however, to a cigarette tax that, if approved as presented, would take effect halfway through the fiscal year.

Several owners of county retail outlets that sell cigarettes have come out in opposition to a proposal to establish a 30-cents-a-pack tax starting next Jan. 1. The tax, said Ubaid Kazi, owner of two local convenience stores, "will drastically affect my businesses."

When customers learn cigarettes are more expensive here than in neighboring localities, said Kazi during a public hearing Monday on the proposal, they'll take their business elsewhere, including their purchases of nontobacco products. He urged the supervisors to "please" not impose the tax. "We're trying to get through the COVID recession. [With the tax], we'll see more decline."

Eight other county business proprietors, including Bobby Berkstresser, owner of Whites Travel Center, Lee Hi Truck Stop and Orchard Creek Exxon, made similar points in a letter to the Board of Supervisors. "Now is the time to support Rockbridge's small businesses, not implement higher taxes that would threaten our livelihoods, our consumers and employees' jobs and our county's well-being," the business owners wrote.

A key talking point about the proposed tax among supervisors has been whether other nearby counties and cities have a similar tax or are preparing to impose one. The General Assembly last year adopted legislation giving counties the authority to establish a cigarette tax of up to 40 cents a pack starting this July 1. Cities have already had that authority.

Buena Vista and Lexington don't presently have such a tax but officials with both cities have indicated a willingness to recommend that their city councils establish one at the same rate and on the same date as what's being proposed in Rockbridge County.

County Administrator Spencer Suter apprised the supervisors of what he's heard from other neighboring jurisdictions on this issue. Amherst County has adopted a 27-cents-a-pack tax that takes effect July 1. There is a proposal in Augusta County to establish a 30-cents-a-pack tax that would align with the cigarette taxes imposed by the cities of Staunton and Waynesboro.

The boards of supervisors in Botetourt and Bath counties have not discussed the issue yet. There are no plans presently to adopt cigarette taxes in Rockingham or Alleghany counties.

Though acknowledging there is much uncertainty about how much revenue a 30-cents-a-pack tax would generate in Rockbridge County, Suter offered an estimate of $320,000 minus costs of about $20,000 that would be associated with the process of obtaining stamping impressions that show the tax has been collected.

"The only problem I have is if surrounding localities don't impose the tax, then you'd have a loss of revenues," said Supervisors chairman Dan Lyons. Given that the tax wouldn't go into effect until Jan. 1, "we could revisit this and make adjustments."

Bob Day asked how much time the supervisors have to adopt the cigarette tax ordinance as proposed. There's no set limit, said county attorney Vickie Huffman, "but the rule of thumb is to act within 60 days before you'd have to readvertise." In response to other questions from supervisors, Huffman said the tax rate could be lowered, or the effective date pushed back, without the proposed ordinance having to be readvertised.

Jay Lewis suggested postponing making a decision until the May 24 meeting to give everyone time to "investigate the concerns" that have been raised. He made a motion to that effect that passed 5-0. David McDaniel asked that county staff continue to monitor what other jurisdictions are doing with regard to imposing such a tax.

The budget adopted unanimously leaves the real estate tax rate at 74 cents per $100 value, the personal property tax rate at $4.50 and the machinery and tools tax at $2.55. The personal property tax relief rate was left at 37 percent.

County employees are to receive 3 percent pay raises next year. The local appropriation is to be $15,697,715 – an increase of $915,075, or 5.8 percent. Funding for nonprofit agencies was left at FY21 levels, which are 10 percent below what they were in FY20.

The budget calls for spending of $49,543,354, which is up $3,002,240, or 6.45 percent, over the current year.

School board postpones sale of Corinne school to consider business proposal from city's resident - Benewsjournal

Posted: 21 Apr 2021 03:03 AM PDT

Lisa Marble presented a detailed report, complete with architecture designs and a business plan, to the school board for turning the old Corinne Elementary into an assisted living/nursing home combination.

Lisa Marble presented a detailed report, complete with architecture designs and a business plan, to the school board for turning the old Corinne Elementary into an assisted living/nursing home combination.

Just when the Box Elder School District Board of Education was about to award the sale of the old Corinne Elementary School to the highest bidder Wednesday, an impassioned presentation by a resident of Corinne to turn it into an assisted living facility caused the board to postpone the award.

District Business Manager Rod Cook had recommended the building and 2.8-acre property be sold to Capener and Company Real Estate in Tremonton for $350,000, but Lisa Marble, representing newly-formed Pompier LLC, is hoping to acquire the property for $127,000.

She said the group plans to make an assisted living/memory care/nursing home facility out of the property as well as a reception hall for family gatherings, walking paths, barbecue and picnic areas, and open gardens.

"We're a multi-generational community and it's important for our citizens to grow old in their community," she told the board. "We don't have a lot of historical buildings in Corinne. We'd like to save this one."

There are currently no assisted living or nursing homes in Corinne with the nearest ones 6-15 miles from the site of the former school.

According to the business plan, an age-in-place home for residents will help them "maintain dignity and consistency as they age. As residents need to upgrade to the next level of care, they will not have to move from center to center disrupting their lives when things are already in flux for them."

Marble acknowledged she was not the highest bidder but hoped the board would see the need for such a facility in this rural community and not make it all about money.

She said a builder has inspected the building and found it to be sound and an architect has drawn up plans that will include 36 individual rooms, 16 of which are for memory care, all outfitted with bathrooms and kitchenettes and an individual air filtration system.

In the dining room, residents will be served dietitian-approved meals. There also will be a day room, exercise/ physical therapy, library, and a hair and nail salon. A van will be available for the residents to make weekly trips into Brigham City for appointments and grocery shopping.

In the nursing home, there will be a grand piano and an atrium that can be rented for receptions, dances and family activities, according to the business plan. The grand opening for the entire facility is slated for next summer.

"We'll bring in jobs, visitors and $40,000 in taxes with the school district getting 65% of that," she said, after passing out the Pompier Business Plan to each member.

Cook said he recommended Capener and Company be sold the property because "it's a good offer," compared with past school building sales.

"Schools are hard to sell because they're usually zoned residential and have to be brought up to code," he said, adding that just three bids came in with Capener and Pompier being the two highest.

Boardmember Karen Cronin said she wanted time to read through Marble's packet before voting and suggested postponing the vote until the May 12 board meeting.

Cook responded that it is the board's right to table the action but doing so would mean another month of maintenance costs and time taken away from getting the property sold.

"I think we all need more time to become fully educated," Cronin said with the full board agreeing with her. Boardmember Nancy Kennedy abstained after disclosing a family relationship with Marble.

Micah Capener with Capener and Company Real Estate, said in a phone interview Thursday, he was unsure of what he planned to do with the property should the school board award it to his company.

"We normally don't do that (make a plan) until we're under contract," he said. "Then we meet with the city to identify what we may want to do.

"Because it was a sealed bid, I don't even know who she [Marble] is," Capener said, adding that it's possible the two of them might even work together on a project for the old school.

He said he spoke with school district officials Thursday morning about the postponement and was surprised by what happened.

Pass-Through Businesses Owners Should Monitor President Biden’s Tax Proposal Carefully - Forbes

Posted: 28 Apr 2021 07:45 AM PDT

My passions in life include family, cooking, board games, taxes, and small businesses. However, sometimes small businesses struggle to be heard by Congressional leadership is over lobbyists for large multinational corporations. After all, if I am operating a small business in Upstate New York what is the best way to make sure my view is heard with regards to potential federal tax proposals?

In 2015, which is the most recent IRS reporting for all entity types, there was a reported 1.6 million C Corporation returns reflecting $22.8 billion of gross receipts. Alternatively, there were 4.5 million S Corporations and 3.7 partnerships with combined gross receipts reported of approximately $12.8 billion, $5.2 billion for partnerships and $7.5 billion for S Corporations, respectively.

The old hypothesis still holds true. C corporations bring in more than 4 times the amount of gross receipts of S Corporation and pass-through entities combined but make up less than twenty percent of business entities. Therefore, it is not unusual that they would be targeted for a potential revenue raiser in Biden's tax proposal. Increasing the C Corporate income tax rate from 21% to 28% should bring in a revenue windfall, although many speculate whether the bill will be able to pass with a full increase to 28% and expect it to be more likely to land around 25%. However, pass-through business owners, including partners and S Corporation shareholders, should monitor the Biden proposal carefully. While the Build Back Better recovery plan, released on March 31, 2021, did not specifically list an increase in the top individual tax rate from 37% to 39.6% or a phase out of the 199A deduction (20% pass-through deduction), it was part of Biden's campaign tax proposal and both would create a significant impact on small businesses throughout the United States. Individual taxation is expected to be part of the second element of the recovery plan and should be announced in the coming weeks.

President Biden's campaign tax proposal raises taxes on individuals with income above $400,000, including raising the individual income tax rates top bracket to 39.6% and completely phasing out the 199A deduction for filers with taxable income over $400,000.

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Let us take a basic example to see the impact. Assume that we have a married couple where the husband earns $200,000 through W-2 income, and the wife earns $300,000 of ordinary income through her interest in a manufacturing partnership. We will assume that the partnership reports sufficient qualified wages to avoid a 199A limitation. 

The cash impact to the taxpayer in our example is an increase of approximately $18,000 of federal income taxes, when only adjusting for the 199A removal and increased marginal tax rate to 39.6%.  Some readers may view the effective rate increase from 23% to 25%, and argue it is still better than the C Corporation tax rate moving from 21% to potentially 28%. However, it should be noted that while the effective tax rate is relevant, the marginal tax rate is what most tax accountants will focus on for planning and growth. A C corporation has a flat federal income tax rate, potentially increased to 28%, no matter the amount of taxable income made.  Meanwhile, if the partnership in the above example has an increase in income, they will have to pay a tax rate of 39.6% for every additional dollar. That is over 10% higher (39.6%-28%) than the similar C Corporation and could result in a significant decrease in growth transactions for flow-through businesses. 

Double Tax? 

Many of you may be shouting, "What about the double taxation that impacts C Corporations? Doesn't that increase the C Corporations overall effective tax rate?" That's a point worth exploring. Let us assume the above C Corporation has taxable income of $475,000. Assuming the federal C Corporation income tax rate increases to 28%, the income tax due would only be $133,000 ($475,000 x 28%).   In addition, there will be an additional capital gains tax assessed at the owner level ranging from 15%-20%, provided the dividends are qualified. Therefore, if the after-tax earnings are distributed, an additional $51,300 of capital gains tax could be assessed (475,000-133,000 x 15%). In short, their effective tax rate just jumped from 28% at the C Corporation level to 38.8% (($51,300 + $133,000)/$475,000) when factoring in the tax paid at the C Corporation and by the individual on qualified dividends. Too much math? Yes, I agree. But if the earnings are made in a C Corporation and distributed in the same year, the marginal tax rates are not that different from individuals of 39.6%. So, what is the big deal?

As we all know, timing is everything. An owner in a C Corporation may be able to choose when they want those earnings to be distributed. Unlike flow-through entities, the same dollar earned by the business entity in year 1 does not have to be taxed at the owner level in year 1. A C Corporation owner can decide when those earnings from the C Corporation are distributed which allows them better planning opportunities. For example, they may potentially wait until they can guarantee a lower capital gains tax rate before a distribution occurs. 

However, going one step further, Section 1202 of the Internal Revenue Code allows for the sale of qualified small business stock to avoid capital gain taxation all together. For example, an owner was paid a reasonable salary compensation for six years and then decides to sell his stock. Under the double taxation methodology, the owner would be assessed a capital gains tax on the sale of stock as well as paying ordinary income tax rate on the salary earned. However, that owner could potentially recognize zero capital gain on the sale of their stock by applying Section 1202 and essentially bring the effective tax rate of the C Corporation back down to 21%. While some might be shocked to hear of Section 1202, or qualified small business stock exclusions, the ability for small business to qualify for this exclusion is real and is becoming more relevant  when the individual tax rate keeps going up and the C Corporate tax rate remains to be low. The history of Section 1202 dates back to 1993. However, before Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA ), the C corporate tax rates were as high as 35% and individual tax rates were up to 39.6%, decreasing incentive for structing 1202 corporations. Then the TCJA passed, and the C Corporate tax rate plummeted to 21% while the pass-through effective tax rate with 199A benefits hovered around 30%. At that time, discussions increased with regards to exploring Section 1202, but there was a fear by pass-through entity owners that if they were to convert, the C Corporation tax rate would skyrocket. More information on Section 1202 corporations, including how and when they can be utilized will be discussed in next months article. 

But what now? It appears based on commentary that there is potential that the C Corporation federal income tax rate could increase to 25% (and a smaller chance it increases to 28%), and that the 199A deduction could be completely phased out for taxpayers with taxable income over $400,000 coupled with an increased in the individual income tax rate to 39.6%. That would leave C Corporations with a marginal tax rate of 25%, while pass-through owners would be experiencing a marginal tax rate of 39.6%. This would result in a marginal tax rate differential of almost 15% (39.6%-28%), and would result in flow-through entities to further scrutinize the possibility of Section 1202 corporations. 

Pass-through entity owners are not out of the woods yet. While the 199A deduction and increased individual tax rate were not addressed in the most recent discussions on the Build Back Better recovery plan, individual taxation is expected to be part of the second element of the recovery. The infrastructure bill will demand significant funding and focusing on corporate taxation proposal first for public buy-in makes sense. However, the Biden administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress can pursue a range of tax and spending initiatives through budget reconciliation, which only requires a simple majority vote with limited debate. President Trump and President Obama also used the budget reconciliation process to push through their tax proposals.  Tax reform does not require bi-partisan support and could move through Congress as rapidly as the TCJA. Taxpayers should be forecasting and planning 2021 strategies transactions with the understanding we very well could be applying a significantly different tax code in 2022.

Downtown residents, business owners meet with city of Savannah officials to discuss quadricycle proposal - WTOC

Posted: 28 Apr 2021 03:37 AM PDT

In recent years, there's been some pushback from downtown residents about having the quadricycles pass by their homes, citing noise as one major issue, something several of the companies that operate the vehicles have said they've tried to address. Those who live and work downtown say it's hard to get work done when these bikes full of people pass their office. They also said this shines a spotlight on the lack of communication between the tourism industry, city officials, and downtown residents.

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