Photo courtesy of Downtown Auburn Cooperative Main

Photo courtesy of Downtown Auburn Cooperative Main

Auburn to consider adopting B&O tax

City Council could vote on measure in early 2021

Among Auburn’s business community, B&O is the buzz.

That is, the city of Auburn’s proposal to enact a business and occupation tax starting in 2022. The proposal could land in the lap of the Auburn City Council for a vote in the first quarter of 2021.

The idea first surfaced at a City Council meeting in February as one way to address a pending budget shortfall that by 2024 could put the city millions of dollars in the red.

On its website, the Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce has announced its intent to host a series of forums to help business leaders talk to each other about the proposed tax.

Its message to attendees: come prepared with business sector tax impacts, concerns and additional comments, and invite others from their business sectors to attend.

“We want to make sure that your voice as a business owner is heard, and we are hopeful that these forums will give you that chance,” the chamber notes on its website.

Auburn is the last business community in the area that is not paying some form of city B&O tax. The chamber has invited Auburn City Council members and the city’s finance department to attend.

“Passing any new tax is a difficult decision,” Mayor Nancy Backus said Dec. 1. “The intent of council is never to hurt our small business community, but it is our duty, by law, to create a balanced budget with the increased costs we, and all full-service cities, are seeing across the board.

“We cannot get there by cuts alone or by placing the burden entirely on our residents. The difficulty is finding the right balance between costs that impact families and businesses, and the council believes that this option provides the best way forward for us all,” Backus said.

City officials know they can’t ignore the problem. The B&O proposal was perhaps the least indigestible among several options on the table at that study session in 2019, among them:

■ Lifting the levy lid one time, or long term by council action alone

■ Impose by council action alone, again without a public vote, the city’s first ever business and occupation tax; or put a tax proposition to Auburn residents, or raise utility rates.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Business

t
Kent-based Blue Origin completes seventh human spaceflight

Six-member crew included Ed Dwight, the nation’s first Black astronaut candidate in the 1960s

t
Christie Nelson new leader of John L. Scott office that serves Kent

Office also handles Covington and Maple Valley with 60 brokers

t
Kent-based Blue Origin’s seventh human flight set for May 19

New Shepard-25 will launch from West Texas

t
Kent-based Blue Origin announces crew for next space flight

6 members to include former Air Force captain selected in 1961 as first Black astronaut candidate

t
Kent man among 40 Under 40 honorees by Puget Sound Business Journal

Andy Song, 33, works as chief operating officer at Kids and Family Counseling

Black Press Media operates Sound Publishing, the largest community news organization in Washington State with dailies and community news outlets in Alaska.
Black Press Media concludes transition of ownership

Black Press Media, which operates Sound Publishing, completed its sale Monday (March 25), following the formerly announced corporate restructuring.

t
Kent Police to host Business Crime Prevention Summit

Meeting set for Thursday, April 25 at the accesso ShoWare Center

t
Owner, manager of Kent Subway illegally took employees’ tips

One of 10 Subway locations in state investigated by U.S. Department of Labor

t
New Kent international market holds grand opening on West Hill

Queen Safa Market and Deli open at 23424 on Pacific Highway S.

File photo
Boeing has 90 days to create comprehensive action plan, says FAA

The FAA continues its investigation into the flight that depressurized because of a door malfunction

t
Curry Pizza House opens first Washington location in Kent

Restaurant on the East Hill along 104th Avenue SE