For years, Kingston has offered tax incentives to new businesses in the hope that they might relocate to Kingston. However, businesses who have remained in Kingston for many years have received no tax break and instead continue to pay exorbitant taxes. Many businesses have left Kingston unable to endure the burden any longer.
I am proposing tax breaks, but only for those businesses that are already here and have demonstrated a commitment to Kingston.
Currently, businesses owners pay taxes based upon the assessment of their buildings by a certain amount per thousand dollars of assessment. In other words, if the building is assessed at $500,000, then the owner pays 500 times the amount per thousand.
My proposal offers reductions for businesses that have been in the City of Kingston for 10 years, 25 years, and 50 years. Once a business has been here in the City of Kingston continuously for 10 years, then a reduction of $1.00 per thousand would apply. Using the building assessed at $500,000, the business owner would save $500 per year.
After 25 years of being continuously in Kingston, another dollar would be reduced from the price per thousand. After 50 years of being continuously in Kingston, another dollar would be reduced from the price per thousand. Thus, using the building assessed at $500,000, the business owner would save $500 per year after 10 years, $1,000 per year after 25 years, and $1,500 per year after 50 years.
A business would have to apply for this tax reduction (much like residents have to apply for STAR) and verify the time of continuous existence in the City of Kingston. Obviously, if a business owner sold the business to someone else, then the time would reset. Death of a business owner would not reset the clock if the business was continued by another family member.
It seems to me that a business that has been loyal to Kingston for 10, 25, or 50 years deserves a tax break more than a business that is contemplating coming to Kingston and may not even stay. My parents taught me the importance of loyalty. Kingston should reward those businesses that have been loyal to Kingston.