Oakland Business Owners Refusing to Pay Taxes Until City Addresses Crime Issues

oakland business owners band together to address crime

Some small business owners in Oakland, California, have had enough.

Fed up with crime in their neighborhood, a group of business owners say they refuse to pay taxes until the city provides safer areas to operate. Specifically, they want to see increased police patrols to alleviate violent crime and make the city safer for customers who want to patronize their businesses.

La Perla Puerto Rican Cuisine on Fruitvale Avenue is one of the businesses affected by the recent rise in violent crime. Oakland native Jose Ortiz owns the business and says his restaurant has been robbed at gunpoint twice. Additionally, he says the family-owned restaurant has seen a 25 percent drop in business over the past few years due to customers steering clear over safety concerns.

Ortiz recently told NBC Bay Area, “We’re proposing not to pay taxes to the city until you give me the services that we deserve.”

He adds, “We’re all in the same boat all across the city of Oakland. The city needs to immediately, effectively do something about it.”

So not only is the refusal to pay taxes an attempt to make a statement, it also addresses a practical issue for many businesses. Since they’ve seen revenue drop and have had to spend money on safety improvements or repairs, many simply struggle to keep up with their city tax bills.

So far, the city hasn’t made any changes based on these comments from business owners. However, some council members have acknowledged these concerns and claim to be working on tax deferrals and other ways to alleviate the burden.

For some, this type of financial incentive may help. But others argue it’s just a short-term solution. And the real need is for the city to address crime in these business districts.

For now, Oakland businesses, and others in certain areas across the country, are still waiting for answers. However, organizers encourage other frustrated local businesses to join them in forcing change.

Image: Envato Elements

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.

One Reaction
  1. The sentiment is great, but getting fined and/or thrown in jail for tax dodging won’t fix the problem. Look for other ways to pressure the city government and get change.

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