Just about the time I think I’ve seen it all … I quickly learn how wrong I am! I was recently shocked by a headline in our local newspaper serving a community of 150,000. It read: “Going out of Business? That’ll be $50.”
Yes, it’s pretty much what you guessed it to be. It was the story of two local businesses located in a dying downtown area which simply couldn’t keep their doors open any longer. Both stores are well-known national franchises operated by hard-working local residents. They did everything they could to succeed and finally had to throw in the towel. Both were in the middle of a going-out-of-business liquidation sale when they received a letter from the City Clerk informing them they needed to pay a fee of $50 for a license to go out of business … the final nail in the coffin of their businesses. As one owner put it: “$50 to close—can you believe it!”
Adding insult to injury, the application for the going out of business license also required an itemized list of goods to be sold, described with make and brand name … plus a separate list of goods purchased 60 days or less immediately prior to the date of application including the cost of each item, name and address of the source, date of purchase and delivery date, and the total value of the inventory. Apparently, this fee is standard all over the country. What were they thinking?
The City Clerk claims the $50 license fee is a consumer-protection measure to prevent businesses from duping the public with false “going-out-of-business” sales. Here’s a much cheaper way of doing the same thing: When a business advertises “going-out-of-business” and then doesn’t do so—fine them $50!
The way the license fee is set up at the moment, it’s nothing less than the city kicking the merchants while they’re down. May as well rub their nose in it one last time to remind them of their failure.
Here’s another thought: Just don’t pay the fee—you’re going out of business anyway. Well, the geniuses running the city have considered that course of action as well. They have another law that says if you don’t purchase the “going-out-of-business” license and adhere to all of the requirements, you will be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by up to $500 in fines and six months in jail.
Remember when those in government were elected or hired to serve the taxpayers? Apparently, those days are long gone. I wonder if any of these civil servants are aware of why we left England to come to these shores.
I wonder if they’re aware that April 15, there will be well over 300 well-organized Tax Day Tea Party Protests taking place from coast to coast—each predicting a minimum of 5,000 people attending each. That number is expected to grow between now and the 15th.