How is this business-friendly?


Dear elected officials:
I recently submitted my annual report to the Department of Commerce for assessment. I was told there would be late fees. Considering I haven’t had any business, I assumed they would be reasonable. In the past, the annual report was $25, then $50 and now $100. It hasn’t or won’t fix the government shortfalls. The infuriating thing is the late fee is $150 with a daily penalty of $10 a day. No problem, right? After CPR was performed and I collected myself, I when to the Legislature and started talking.

My late fee and penalty is $570. Wow. During the time of no income. That sounds fair, right? I will close the business since I don’t have any. What will others do? How about those who left the island to wait out the return of business. What will they do? Come back and pay $3,650 per year just in the daily penalty?

How is that positive for a friendly business environment? Gone are the days when big investors build our infrastructure for the privilege of doing business here. We have to invite and incentivize business. Competing for business development is based on many factors. Those who want to have business here have personal reasons. We have many limitations. 

Business is hard enough as it is on the island. We have limited demographics and workforce, with the added terrible shipping fees, among a few factors.

The government should be working as partner in helping business, not be the enemy and drive business away. What do you think consequences will be? Why isn’t the effort about fostering business growth so businesses will grow the economy and will add to revenue? Your efforts should be in cutting costs as much as possible.

I was told the bill created in December the Chamber opposed the bill and any public comments or any opposition were disregarded.

I had a customer who priced leasing her building based on what she wanted to give her children. Is that how it is determined? Is that reasonable. What is a reasonable amount. I think $75-$100 for the late fee. 
Please work with businesses and call me if you would like to talk.

Del Benson
Capital Hill, Saipan

Contributing Author

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