To the editor:
The upcoming discussions about signage and advertising in Cape Coral has finalized my conclusion that our city government is anti-small business. The recent decision from the Planning and Zoning board to limit or eliminate sign wavers, feather signs, and window signs puts small businesses at a distinct disadvantage. It begs the question, "How does a small business compete with a meager advertising budget?"
Of course, this is not the first time that the city has acted harshly against small businesses. In July, the city took up the question of whether to regulate mobile food vendors. In a complete lack of understanding market place competition, code enforcement officer, Frank Cassidy, says that the food vendor trucks are, "taking away other's business." Mr. Cassidy's response is in direct opposition to the capitalist principles that help grow this country.
Yet, if when there is a business which is a multi-billion dollar entity, such as Starbucks, which has a large advertising budget to buy marquee signage, the city is willing to grant them a $27,000 tax waiver (June 2013). Of course, one wants to ask if the city is willing to give all businesses a tax waiver. If not, then why does it cherry pick a large-cap global corporation over homegrown businesses based right here in our town? If one weighs this distorted philosophy against the high taxation, in the form of impact fees that the city charges to new local businesses, and then it does make one wonder if the city leaders really do support small local businesses at all. I would dare say they do not.
Perhaps the Cape's city council needs to look at things through a different lens. First, we need to recognize that real estate development is not a key to economic growth; it is a result of economic growth. The truest way to a thriving economy is to allow the existence of businesses that will produce goods and services that will bring money from outside our city limits to our doorsteps. Secondly, we need to help develop businesses that will keep this new money inside the community. Anyone who understands fundamental economics will immediately see that this will create an efficient cash flow model that will help all of us.
Limiting ad signage, bullying food vendors, and giving tax breaks to businesses based in Seattle does not support an efficient cash flow model; it warps it. As a good first step for the economics of this town, the city council should reject the recommendation from the Planning and Zoning board.