I have owned a small business in Juneau for the last 24 years, and I just had to write about the business owner that has failed to pay his sales tax for the past several years (Empire, May 6). I don't understand why the city allows this to happen. When a small business continually fails to pay their sales tax in a timely manner, the city should pull their business license.
I have called the city about this problem with other businesses over the years and asked them why do they let them stay in business. It is not fair to the majority of the merchants. The answer has always been, "We can't close them down because then they will not be able to pay their back taxes." They aren't paying them now, and they just keep on not paying taxes while they are allowed to stay in business. It is a real unfair advantage they have over those of us that do pay our taxes. They have all this extra money that we don't have.
The money that I collect from locals and tourists alike has never been considered mine. I keep a separate savings account that I deposit those funds in. When it comes time for the taxes I have collected to be turned over to the city, those funds are available, as they should be. What the city needs to do is if a business doesn't file for two quarters, pull their business license and don't let them get another one for that business or any other one until all back taxes are paid in full.
I loved the end of the article - that this guy is now going to start a fishing charter business this summer in Juneau. If he can't afford to pay his back sales taxes, where is he getting the money to start a new business?