Today's Virginian-Pravda ran a story on the revoked machinery and tools tax hike being an issue in the Mayoral campaign. http://hamptonroads.com/2008/09/stihl-tax-miscue-still-drawing-fire-beach-mayoral-race Yes, the Moss supporters are having a field day in the comments section.
What struck me about the story was the increase itself. The Mayor blames it on City Staff. Okay, let's take that at face value. That leaves the obvious question: Why would City Staff want to increase the machinery and tools tax 90%? The simple answer may be that they wanted more money to spend and didn't give a toss about the economics of such a move.
However, an intriguing theory struck me this morning. Was the intent to tax the small businesses off of Cleveland Street? You have many small companies there with a plethora of machinery and tools, while the City wants to redevelop it as part of the Central Business District. Without a Redevelopment Authority, a punitive machinery and tools tax hike might flush them out. If it was enough to get Stihl to threaten to move, imagine the impact on Cleveland Street.
Granted, I don't have a smoking gun. However, what other City policy aim would have been served by the 90% tax increase?