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East Providence Business Owners Angered by New Registration Fee

This letter was submitted by Laura McNamara, executive director of the East Providence Area Chamber of Commerce.

To the editor,

This week approximately 1,600 envelopes were mailed to East Providence businesses with a $25 invoice from the City of East Providence for a business registration fee. The business registration ordinance was recently approved by the city council on February 28. The fee and a notarized registration form must be returned to the City by April 1, 2012 with a fine of $25/day for each day that it is not returned by the deadline.

The phones started ringing as soon as the envelopes started arriving in the mail. Laura McNamara, the chamber’s executive director, said that members and non-members were calling to express their outrage at this “nuisance tax.”  “It isn’t the dollar amount that angered them, it was that there was a fee at all.” she said. “The information required on the registration form is also a duplication of information that businesses have to provide the City every January when they submit their notarized Annual Returns to the East Providence Tax Assessor.”

The projected income gained, if all of the businesses return their forms and fees, is about $40,000, Ms. McNamara noted: “They just spent $2,000 to do this mailing and that doesn’t include the cost to process the incoming returns and the follow-up with those that are not returned. The tax assessor’s office claims that this ordinance was created ‘not to raise additional money but to track business entities and insure payment of taxes.’ McNamara said, “If that was the case, then why charge a registration fee and irritate the business owners who are already stressed out from years of economic turmoil? A free registration filing with a late penalty fee would have been more acceptable. However it’s still a duplication of the information they have to provide the City every January.”

Due to the outcry from the business community, the ordinance has been placed on the agenda for the March 20, 2012 city council meeting. The discussion will be whether to amend the ordinance or to revoke it.

The East Providence Area Chamber of Commerce is suggesting that businesses refrain from sending in their fee and form until after the discussion on March 20. They also encourage business owners to contact their city councilperson and express their displeasure with the new ordinance.

Business owners can also contact Kim Casci, East Providence city clerk, at 401.435.7593 for more information about the ordinance. The East Providence Area Chamber of Commerce is also inviting business people to contact them to discuss their concerns regarding the issue atoffice@eastprovchamber.com or by calling 401.438.1212.

Editor's note: This letter was submitted by staff members at the East Providence Area Chamber of Commerce.

JJD March 13, 2012 at 03:51 AM
Am I the only one that doesn't see the big deal about filling out a form and paying $25 dollars. I have to do that whenever I register for anything anywhere.
Tony Bettencourt March 13, 2012 at 04:42 PM
That is because you are not a business owner. It is not about the $25. It is about the fact that why should we pay another $25 when we already pay to have a license in the city. How many times can you hit the business owners before they leave? What do you think this fee will be in 5 years? What is this fee for? I see many business in this city already empty. We have a business that was on the news 2 days ago that is in East Providence and is going to expand and add an additional 200 jobs and move to Warwick. Why? They said the were offer in incentives to go to Warwick. Why not try to keep them in East Providence even if we have to offer some sort of incentive. We need new businesses and most importantly keep current business in East Providence!
JJD March 13, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Right, because only business owners have to pay fees in addition to normal taxes.
Doubting Thomas April 04, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Lets see...the city has existed for HOW long? Business have ALWAYS existed in EP. NOW they must pay a fee to register? This is not about generating revenue? I doubt it. Remember the teensy sewer use fee they added to your water bill about 10 years ago? They promised it would not be abused. Well they raised it 5 times the first year and now I believe most homeowners in EP pay MORE in sewer use fee than they do for water! I know I do. The people are clueless.
S April 05, 2012 at 02:37 AM
oh yes and the warm and wonderful "GAY" Brucie rogers has flip flopped on this and is trying to pretend he was against it all along..... the man is a lieing sack of what ever. DO NOT TRUST ROGERS
Elizabeth April 08, 2012 at 05:28 PM
It's extremely difficult to have a business in RI, EP seems to be working hard to make it worse. BTW - what does "GAY" Brucie Rogers mean?
Joe Botelho April 08, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Business entities in EP also have to pay an onerous tangible tax for every chair, pencil and piece of equipment they use for the privilege of up opening shop here. They also must pay a minimum of $500 to RI whether they make a profit or not, and if they do, they want a big chunk of that as well. There is a reason that if you look just to the north of us in Pawtucket and especially to our west in Seekonk that most of the big box stores and chains have located there, while large commercial spaces are dormant such as the space next to the Shaw's location and the old St. Angelo car dealership. EP even meters the well water a business uses to charge them a sewer use fee. Being one of the most difficult city's to conduct business, in a state that is routinely in the bottom 5 in business climate across the country makes it challenging at best. The $25.00 fee was the proverbial straw.........

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