Spending money to save money does not make sense or cents. For months, our mayor has touted that the Shop Bayonne Card "will produce great economic benefits for consumers and businesses" and that it is a "win-win for the people of Bayonne."
As a candidate for mayor running on a business platform, I have many concerns about this program.
First and foremost, our elected officials must understand that solutions are working answers to problems. This rewards card is not an answer and won't solve our problems.
To find a solution, we must identify the root of the problems our city faces. Here is my question for City Council. How do we generate enough revenue to balance the city budget while providing tax relief? My answer, it starts with a pro business policy accomplished through reducing tax rates.
In order to achieve lower property taxes, the focus should be to reduce spending, create a more responsible budget, and incentivize entrepreneurs in Bayonne.
This plan is a "little to none" relief measure with Bayonne businesses taking the risk and footing the bill essentially providing stimulus to the consumer to make up for government failure.
Here is how their scheme works. Local business owners pay roughly $300 to FinCredit INC for their "card reader" and monthly maintenance. Then businesses offer a discount within the program to encourage local shopping. Local business owners agree to put a portion of the money they collect from a customer toward that customer's property tax bill and or rent. 75 percent of the "savings" collected would go to the municipality to be allocated to the residents and Fincredit INC. gets their 25% cut.
Having talked to small business owners, they’ve already lowered prices to compete with the big chains and meet the needs of the customers. So currently, the customers are already getting back savings without a portion going to some "Business Solutions" firm.
Volun-told coercion is what the Shop Bayonne initiative is. It pressures businesses to come aboard or suffer the negative press. So, what’s to gain from this risk? Potential growth of 4.6% portrayed by FinCredit INC.
In the township of Marlboro, 48 businesses decided to sign up but just 4 months later nearly half those same businesses dropped out. Though the average sales have risen about 4.6 percent, a business owner could spend the same amount on local advertising and generate up to 15 percent revenue without putting money into a business solution firm.
It is because of these concerns that the city of Butler refused this "property tax card" program. You do not need a solutions firm and their "program" to provide property tax relief.
Which raises the question, is there some benefit owed to FinCredit INC that the residents of Bayonne don’t know about? Why else would the city invest in this program?
Having more Bayonne residents shopping in town is great, but it's only part of the solution. My proposal is this; In order to grow we need to attract commerce from outside of our city. To attract, we need to revitalize Broadway through tax incentives that make it inviting for entrepreneurs to take the risk in opening up a new business in Bayonne while retaining the businesses already here.
We deserve a prosperous Broadway. The homeowners deserve a better return on their property investments. Under our pro-business plan, real relief is on the way.
If you would like to read more about our plan, and other stances, I encourage you to visit www.zanowicformayor.com.
Candidate for Mayor of Bayonne