Tax relief for cannabis operators: A gift of public funds

Tax relief for cannabis operators: A gift of public funds

EDITOR: The Board of Supervisors’ consent calendar for Tuesday includes extension of the due date for cannabis business taxes from Jan. 31 to April 30. Since the extension doesn’t affect the taxes due “in any way,” as a county report says, why doesn’t the board simply require timely payment?

As the saying goes, “time is money,” so deferral represents money in the pockets of the cannabis businesses and dollars that should be in the county’s coffers. The extension constitutes a gift of public funds.

This is not like extensions due to wildfires — disasters impacting innocent residents. The cannabis industry placed a poor bet on the market. These are not innocent victims nor necessarily Sonoma County residents. They are sophisticated investors who sold the county on the tax angle. An extension on their taxes neutralizes that purported benefit. Why is the board making that gift?

Comprehensive environmental and economic studies need to be undertaken on these issues. Those require time beyond the next quarter. In the meantime, cannabis businesses should pay their taxes on time, just like the rest of us.

Santa Rosa

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