Orangeburg County Council is making the wrong choice for Orangeburg’s future.

The business license tax, under consideration by the Council, is not only burdensome for businesses to comply with because of the process but is also bad because it taxes gross revenue whether you make a profit or not.

County Council should reverse course before it imposes a business licensing tax on the people of Orangeburg.

Orangeburg is on the cusp of an economic boom, but adding a new tax on business is sure to have a negative impact. If Orangeburg County Council goes through with implementing a new tax on businesses, it will hurt growth of new industry as well as Orangeburg’s family-owned small businesses.

At least 36 of our state’s 46 counties DO NOT charge a business license tax. In fact, most of the counties in the region that Orangeburg competes with for jobs and investment do not charge a county business license tax, putting Orangeburg at a competitive disadvantage. If you were a business owner and could locate in Calhoun, Lexington or Berkeley County, which all do not charge the business license tax, or Orangeburg which does, where would you put your investment and jobs?

The business license tax is an economic development poison pill for counties that seek to implement it. This tax directly targets small, family-owned businesses, already struggling to make ends meet. Orangeburg County Council should be looking for measures to make Orangeburg more business friendly, not less.

Ted Pitts is president and CEO of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.

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