Parking Taxes and what to do, what to do?


Parking Taxes and what to do, what to do?

Baghdad by the Bay tried to increase its parking tax four years ago and a coalition of operators, business owners, developers, and unions beat back the attempt with a full court press. According to City Park’s Tim Leonadikis who led the parking portion of the defense, it took a strategic positioning, planning, lobbyists, a media blitz and a bunch of money, somewhere north of $300,000. But they were successful and the proposition went down to defeat 67-33%. Not too shabby. Plus they sent a message that the businesses in SF weren’t going to take tax increases lying down. Tim tells me that the NPA has an initiative going that will host a web site soon to give details on how to fight parking taxes.

Now operators in LA find themselves in a similar situation. The tax dragon is raising its ugly head and looking at parking tax. Its currently 10% and they want, at a minimum, to double it. This is bad news for business. In a state that is already running business out of town with fees, taxes, and regulations, now is not the time to add more. The local parking group is girding its loins and I expect that they will use the SF model to help them form a defensive position against the city.

It’s typical. The city has no money and rather than reduce the overwhelming bureaucracy and “shudder” privatize things like electricity, water, trash, and other like services, they are looking for more money. The mayor has “cut to the bone” and still they are tens if not hundreds of millions out of balance.

Good luck to the LA group – I’ll keep you posted

Oh, and to top it off, LA can’t even collect the tax that’s now due. Many fly by night operators are flying under the radar and not reporting all their income. Auditors (Clyde Wilson) have come in and provided the city with chapter and verse but they still seem unable to go after the millions that is past due. As Clyde says – “They would be better off to collect the money due them than raise rates of the legitimate operators.”

The operators want to put those fly by night guys out of business. San Francisco and Miami have done it by making the facility owner responsible for the taxes if the operator doesn’t pay. That means the owner will hire legitimate operators and the playing field will become level. Not a bad idea…



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John Van Horn

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