The city of Weirton is looking at two proposed budgets for the next fiscal year and one of them includes a business and occupation tax that has local establishments upset.
Weirton business owners say that if this tax goes through, many businesses will have to cut business services, move their business elsewhere, or even shut down completely.
"We're going to probably have to get people to cut a few hours, hoping and praying that at the end of the day that I don't have to pink slip somebody," an owner at Tri-State Medical Group J.J. Bernabei said.
City Council has come up with a proposed budget plan for the 2014-2015 fiscal year to make up for the $1.6 million shortfall. It includes the B&O tax on all allowable categories while reducing the city's existing police and fire service fee. The B&O tax comes right off the gross sales that a business makes.
"A business in Weirton can be in the same dire straits as the city of Weirton trying to balance their budgets and even if they're operating unprofitably they're still going to have to pay this tax," said local business owner Nick Latousakis.
Councilman and owner of Marsh Supply, Fred Marsh, said that he has a better plan that wouldn't force him to make cuts.
"Three of us proposed and ended up behind a scenario to raise the current fees that we are collecting from people now. In talking with a lot of the businesses, they like that much better because it was a set number and they knew what their expense was," Marsh said.
Business owners are also worried that this will deter businesses from coming to Weirton in the future.
Chamber of Commerce President Brenda Mull says the B&O tax will take also take its toll on clubs, fraternal organizations, and charities who receive money from businesses. The medical field would also be greatly impacted.
WTRF has reached out to the 4 councilmen in favor of the proposed budget but only spoke to Chuck Wright and George Ash. They both said they will not be commenting at this time, but will after the council meeting on Monday night.