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Small-Business Advocacy Group Raps ‘Family-Friendly’ Tax Credits

The National Federation of Independent Business wants broader based business-tax relief in place of Gov. Gary Locke’s proposed program of “family-friendly” tax credits.

“Gov. Locke talked about creating tax credits for family-friendly businesses investing in child care and work force training,” Washington state NFIB director Carol Logue said in reaction to Locke’s recent State of the State address. “While these tax credits may sound good, they often benefit larger businesses and leave out small businesses.”

Logue said affordability is the key, and a tax credit is an “after-the-fact benefit.” Taking a poke at both the governor and big business, Logue said, “This tax credit proposal would probably mean that businesses who can afford the benefit will be able to get the credit, while a struggling small, new or expanding business will not receive any tax relief at all - even if it is very ‘family friendly.”’

The same goes for Locke’s proposed business and occupation (B&O;) tax credit for work force training.

Logue adds: “The paperwork involved may just be enough to keep a small business from asking for the credit. Our members have so much paperwork to do that the paperwork costs involved in asking for the credit may exceed the amount of the credit due.”

Instead of tax credits, Logue said, “NFIB surveys show the best way to help small and expanding businesses in Washington state is simply to reduce the B&O; tax rates for all businesses fairly and equitably. Reducing long-term tax rates to put more money back into the economy makes more sense as a priority than giving tax credits to businesses for benefits they can already afford.”

Logue said NFIB members also strongly oppose increases in the state gas tax. In a recent survey, eight out of 10 spoke out against a gas tax hike and called for government to reprioritize spending instead.

Pioneer coffee stand getting new digs

When Jacob’s Java opened at Sixth and Washington half a dozen years ago, it made history.

“We claim to be the first exclusively drive-through espresso hut within the city limits of Spokane,” says Scott Jacobs, co-owner with brother Paul.

Now the brothers are surrounded by dozens of competitors, and the South Hill landmark is obsolete.

Jacob’s Java is moving to vastly expanded quarters across the intersection, and the little old hut, a converted One-Hour Photo booth so cramped it has barely enough room in which to turn around, will become surplus. “We talked about getting a big crane in here with a wrecking ball and swinging it once,” says Scott Jacobs.

Over the years, untold thousands of South Hill motorists have darted in for a quick fix on their way to work. The old photo hut has just three-by-five feet of work space, no plumbing, and no design. It’s just a box.

By contrast, the new building bristles with embellishments. The site used to house a Wells Fargo Bank branch. It has just been replaced by a new drive-in Automatic Teller installation. The unusual design features of the new building taking shape on the site prompted a number of readers to question whether this might turn out to be a Wells Fargo signature location sporting a bigger-than-life-size replica stagecoach.

But, no. This is a new Jacob’s Java.

And the design? “Boy, I don’t know,” puzzled construction project manager Gary Schimmels Jr. of the Spokane construction firm Leone & Keeble Inc. “It has a kind of Southwest or Mission-style look, but porthole-type windows and a big open skylight with metalwork under the soffits.

“It’s sort of a mixed design. But catchy. I don’t think you’ll see another drive-up espresso stand anywhere near as elaborate around here,” said the builder.

“I don’t know the style either,” confessed Scott Jacobs. “My brother and I sat down with the architect, and this is what we all came up with. Whatever it is, it’s one of a kind.”

It’s big, with a drive-up bay on each side, plus a walk-up window.

Opening day is a few weeks away.

Jacob’s Java also has outlets at Cheney, Airway Heights, Market & Fairview, and 12806 N. Division.

Revenue agents clamp down on tax dodgers

Washington State Department of Revenue agents are zeroing in on people and businesses who import or themselves bring in valuables from abroad without paying state use tax.

The agency said it will start sending inquiries to those who may be in violation of the state use tax, which is owed on goods when sales tax is not paid. The rate is the same as the sales tax but is based on where the item is used instead of where it is sold.

Typical of such purchases are expensive paintings used in a hotel lobby, a box full of Rolex watches for everyone in the family, expensive furs, carpets and furniture.

The use tax law has long been in effect, but compliance was difficult to track until recently, says state tax discovery agent Chuck Currier. A new agreement with U.S. Customs gives states access for the first time to electronic records which show “exactly what was imported, its value, who bought it, and where it’s going,” he said.

To avoid interest and penalties, taxpayers may arrange to pay before contacted, says Currier. For more information or to obtain forms, call 1-800-647-7706.

, DataTimes MEMO: Associate Editor Frank Bartel writes a notes column each Wednesday. If you have busines items of regional interest for future columns, call 459-5467 or fax 459-5482.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Frank Bartel The Spokesman-Review

Associate Editor Frank Bartel writes a notes column each Wednesday. If you have busines items of regional interest for future columns, call 459-5467 or fax 459-5482.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Frank Bartel The Spokesman-Review

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