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Charlotte Mayor wants to cut business fees to help economy

http://66.225.205.104/LM20090206a.mp3

As the City of Charlotte cuts several millions of dollars in spending to make up for a shortfall this year, city council may consider reducing fees on businesses to help the local economy. The money that comes from issuing business licenses, reviewing developers' plans, and inspecting real estate projects accounts for less than 12-percent of the city's operating budget. Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory says it may be worth it to sacrifice some of that income for now to help businesses grow during a rough economy. "It would pay off if we risk short term money that we get from business fees, but we get the business back on the ground, the city benefits in the long run with new jobs and new property taxes, which are much more substantial than any business fee," says McCrory. City council member Anthony Foxx says that reducing fees associated with development may act more like a discount than an incentive to companies who already plan to go ahead with building or expanding. He says what's holding developers back is problems securing credit in a tight market, not paying a city fee. At the annual city council retreat, McCrory and Foxx asked staff to bring back information on how reducing business fees could affect the budget.