Support Your Local Small Businesses & Neighbors!
Sign and Share the petition to let City Council know that you oppose the proposed BISD's additional 10% real estate tax. This proposal is being pushed by a small group of private business owners, but will have negative consequences for many of small businesses and residents in Old Town.Sign the petition
Preserving Our History: Stop Tax Injustices Against Small Businesses
Save Your Local Small Businesses from this Predatory tax
Please ask the City Council to stop this additional tax on property owners in Old Town. Tell them that this proposal should be withdrawn. We defeated it before, and we can do it again. See this link for the guiding legislation. Here are some of its more problematic details:
The BISD will increase real estate taxes almost 10% by increasing the proposed rate of $1.12 by another $0.10.
BISD's 10% Tax Hike Plan
The BISD does not replace City Services, but duplicates many services we already pay for, including marketing by Visit Alexandria and Economic Development by Alexandria Economic Development Partnership. Both are already fully funded by taxes in the city.
BISD: Duplication or Redundancy?
There is no proposal for the BISD to work with other groups that already run events, like the Torpedo Factory, Volunteer Alexandria, Ballyshaners (Irish Festival), or the City of Alexandria. The BISD proposes to run events, however the likelihood is that they would only work to promote events that help their members.
BISD Overlooks Existing Collaborations
The BISD is not offering a list of benefits to property owners, and no strategic or marketing plan. A third of the budget will be used for administration. Decisions will be made by five already existing board members who will handpick eight additional board members, who decide how the money they collect will be spent. Their proposal will give control of $1 million in taxpayer dollars to a small group of people.
BISD's Million-Dollar Mystery
Small Businesses already pay a 6% Sales Tax and contribute significantly to revenue for the city.
Small Businesses: Unsung Heroes
No bylaws have been made public, so the details of the organization are hidden.
BISD's Hidden Organizational Details
The presentation of the proposal has been too rushed and there is not time enough to consider the proposal or unintended consequences. The proposal began with a six month “quiet” period where proponents sought support from large property owners first, leaving some small locally owned businesses out of the conversation. Then there was only a two-day notice given by press release (on Feb. 13th) before the first presentation to the public, not enough time for many people to attend.
BISD's Rushed Proposal Approach
There is no plan to create stronger incentives for diverse business ownership even though diversity is a proposed goal of the BISD. The City recently tried to create grants for B.I.P.O.C. businesses, because many of those businesses missed out on grants distributed by the city during the pandemic.
BISD's Diversity Goals: Hollow?
The Old Town Business Association does not list its current members. There are 450 properties in the proposed district and there needs to be 270 or 60% in order for the City Council to consider the proposal.
Old Town Association's Membership Mystery
Taxes are rarely repealed once in place, so the proposal should be considered carefully. The BID could have a detrimental effect on the number of small businesses in Old Town.
BISD Tax: Irreversible Damage?
Taxpayer's Tab: City's $100K BID U-Turn (Read the Fine Print)
In a stunning departure of its 2017 promise, the city has brazenly shelled out $100,000 to a consultant for the creation of a new Business Improvement Services District (BISD), leaving its previous pro-business rhetoric in the dust.
Your Right to Know: Get the Scoop on the BID Tax - FOIA Request Available!
Demand transparency and uncover the truth behind the proposed Business Improvement District ordinance and tax. Access our FOIA request link now and join us in defending the rights of small businesses against big corporate interests.