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Business operations tax on ballot divides some Sacramento business owners

Sacramento businesses divided on a new ballot measure up for vote next week
Sacramento businesses divided on a new ballot measure up for vote next week 02:19

SACRAMENTO — Sacramento businesses are divided on a new ballot measure up for a vote next week.

Proponents of Measure C say it's a way for major corporations to pay their fair share, but small business owners worry that the devil is in the details and that their already thin margins could be slimmer.

Veni Sharma has owned his clothing and tailoring shop De Row & Sharma on K Street for more than 50 years.

"I'm a niche business which is clothing and alterations," he said. "There's not many tailors around, so [customers] come here."

Sharma has seen ebbs and flows on the corridor.

 "K Street has gone up and down for years, but after COVID with everyone working from home, every business is suffering," he said.

Measure C is a new business tax that is at the center of a plan to try and help fix downtown as well as the city's budget issues. Sharma isn't so sure.

"When the taxes go up, it doesn't just go up for the big corporations. It also goes up for little guys as well," he said.

Sacramento government officials feel the push and pull.

"There is a tension here between what we're being asked to do and the simple fact that we don't have the money to do it," Councilmember Katie Valenzuela said last October.

That was when the city council approved the measure for a public ballot. CBS13 spoke to two business owners who did not want to be identified and said they would support the measure, citing the higher tax on corporations.

"It struck me as I came into this role about a year ago that a business like Walmart pays the City of Sacramento about $5,000 a year," Vice Mayor Caity Maple said.

That refers to a cap on the business tax. If passed, the measure would eliminate it, meaning major corporations would be on the hook for additional thousands of dollars in taxes owed to the city.

Back on K Street, Sharma just hopes that if the measure passes, the proceeds go to help the small businesses trying to breathe life back into K Street.

"The little guys are hurting and the little guys are who need more help and not getting their taxes up," Sharma said.

The public will be able to vote on Measure C in the primary election on March 5. If it passes, it will go into effect July 1.

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