Not many people like to pay taxes, but we do have an expectation of public services like a firehouse, police, public utilities, roads, and other services that come from city budgets. I get approached regularly by people who have ideas of even more ways to spend those tax dollars. Because lack of funds is often the obstacle for many of these great ideas, we are constantly looking for sources of revenue to help.
As Mayor one of my priorities has been to increase the business in the city. One of the best options to help keep individual taxes down is to spread that burden over a larger group—sharing the expense with businesses that bring revenue to the city. Businesses often are taxed at a higher property tax rate because they don’t receive the same discounts that residential properties enjoy under state law. Businesses often generate sales tax that comes from more than just our citizens.
Starting this February, we began offering everyone who applied for a location-based business license in the city a Business Launch Service free of charge. It is as simple as checking boxes of services the city can offer one time to help them get their business off the ground. Options include a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony including photos and someone from the city participating, an introduction to the local and community chamber of commerce, a one-time welcome article in the city magazine, and/or social media announcements. Of course, any business can choose to opt-in or out of any of these. Businesses wishing to build on this to create a grand opening with discounts or refreshments would be additions at their own expense. Our support has minimal expense and adds value to get the word out.
On March 16th we will be holding a Business Summit at City Hall. We want to work with our local businesses to help them succeed and are inviting all Syracuse Businesses to attend. We will be talking about support programs offered through a variety of resources. We will include an open forum to listen to the needs of local businesses. Understanding the needs of our local businesses best comes from listening to them.
We want to see all businesses here in the city succeed. There are so many benefits to a healthy business climate in the city. I am continually spending time recruiting businesses to Syracuse. The city doesn’t open businesses, but we can help them find available properties, make introductions to land owners, help find resources, promote the opportunity, and help define the need for services.