No free B&O ride for manufacturing in Bremerton, yet

The Bremerton City Council voted 5-3 against a proposal that would exempt companies designated “manufacturing” from business and occupation taxes. The measure would have gone along with another provision, one that passed 7-1, to raise the exemption level for Bremerton B&O taxes citywide. The exemption means the first $80,000 in gross revenues will be exempt from the tax, up from $60,000. That question didn’t seem to cause too much heartburn, except for Adam Brockus, who wanted to postpone the vote to Dec. 5 to be part of the budget process.

Eric Younger, city councilman, said the mayor’s budget already included the cut and the administration had already said it could live without the estimated $50,000 the exemption will allow Bremerton business owners to keep. The bigger long-term effect of the ordinance is that the exemption will go up by $20,000 every year unless the council moves to do something different.

The council also considered eliminating the B&O tax for manufacturing. The city gets no income from it now, so Roy Runyon thought it made sense to cut it completely. Eric Younger suggested this week and last week that the South Kitsap Industrial Area is going to eventually need $200 million in infrastructure investment, some of which could be paid by the city out of B&O funds. He said it could make sense in the future to eliminate the tax if that meant an employer would set up shop in Bremerton, but that it might not be a good idea to throw out that card now. He also said an IT cluster might be what settles in SKIA, so why would manufacturing get the break.

Companies on port property, by the way, do get the B&O tax break, something that was negotiated in getting the port to annex into the city, an example of a card being played during negotiations.

The council voted 5-3 against elimination of the B&O tax for manufacturing. Younger, Faye Flemister, Carol Arends, Nick Wofford and Leslie Daugs were in the majority. Runyon, Adam Brockus and Greg Wheeler voted for the exemption.

One thought on “No free B&O ride for manufacturing in Bremerton, yet

  1. I would really like to thank John Powers the Executive Director of KEDA for offering some additional information and perspective regarding the impact that additional City B&O taxes have on the business environment and on the potential future revenue streams for associated capital improvement projects. It apparently helped clear up some things for a few council members.

    I was happy to see that the council raised the exemption on the B&O tax overall and have set it on a path to eventual elimination.

    It was no secret that Brockus lobbied heavy and hard for this item to be removed from the agenda completely. Phone calls were flying around this city all day. Once he found out he could not get it removed, the posturing for postponement started and thank goodness was denied.

    Jim McDonalds continued and convenient absences at council meetings that have hard, citizen driven issues on the agenda that go directly against what the Mayor wants have been noted. It will be brought up continually in the 2013 city council elections and Mr McDonald will be forced to go on record for items he has made clear that he wants to avoid or face the possible removal during the election for the documented distributed proof of the deliberate avoidance of his duties.

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