Commissioner Curtis Richardson: “Are Businesses Leaving the City?” We Have the Answer.

Commissioner Curtis Richardson: “Are Businesses Leaving the City?” We Have the Answer.

On Wednesday, at the City of Tallahassee budget workshop, City Commissioner Curtis Richardson asked the City staff if businesses were leaving the City of Tallahassee.

Newly appointed City Manager Rick Fernandez answered the question quickly by saying “we have not seen an exodus of small businesses, obviously.”

However, TR requested the number of City registered businesses since 2010 and it appears the City’s own data contradicts the City Manager’s answer to Commissioner Richardson’s question.

TR requested annual business tax certificates from the City and the numbers show a decrease of 486 business tax certificates since 2010. This is a 3.8% decrease. The chart below shows the numbers as reported by the City.

The question by Commissioner Richardson was in response to concerns echoed earlier in the meeting by Penny Herman, a member of  Citizens of Responsible Spending, who said City budget policy was in part responsible for a slow local economy.

Ms. Herman cited a study by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics that showed Leon County last in job growth in Florida in 2015. Our report on that issue can found here.

Click on image to enlarge.



22 Responses to "Commissioner Curtis Richardson: “Are Businesses Leaving the City?” We Have the Answer."

  1. Ha. Curtis Richardson admitted today that he thought the fire service fee was included with the current mileage rate. Shows how out of touch these commissioners are and dangerous they can be.

  2. A relative, a hydraulic engineer in Atlanta told me they had a client trying to open a restaurant in Tallahassee a few years ago. After expending a healthy sum of money in preparation of building the restaurant, the client gave up on his plans, commenting to the engineering firm that he had never encountered a city so demanding on environmental landscaping, this and that other zoning requirement, etc. In short, Tallahassee’s approach to “business” scared him away from opening a place here. Don’t know the restaurant’s name (didn’t ask) but I suspect Tallahassee has regional if not national reputation of being “picky” and not business-friendly. The “mobility tax” is not going to improve the situation. Tallahassee likely wouldn’t begin to consider it but for the fact it has a “captive workforce” in state workers who can’t move elsewhere. For those not tied to the state, the mobility tax will give yet another reason to relocate.

  3. The Democratic thinking base is coming home to roost! Tax and spend , the cry of the liberal left , is fast becoming the hangman’s noose for local politicals. We have traffic choked roads but our leaders are building sidewalks, bike trails, and parks that less than 2% of the population actually uses and the rest of us pay for it!(and now a “mobility tax on miles driven”–where do we get these idiots from anyway??) A $7 million dollar foot bridge across S. Monroe to connect A&M to the Cascades Playground is a fine example. We need to 6 lane US 319,(4 points to Bannerman), widen either Centerville or Miccosukee Road and uncork the huge bottleneck fast approaching (Walanena Plantation, some 4000 homes in the works, and do the same for half a dozen other arterial connectors thru-out the county (but do not hold your breath !)

  4. If all the local businesses that wanted to increase their bottom line, and all the local citizens who wanted more income would research how to make money online, Tallahassee’s economy would explode, and without adding more people, with all their attendant problems.

  5. A mileage tax is morally unethical and should be fought by the citizens of this county and city. However, the ones voting these leaders in who propose such things are really to blame. This would not be happening if Steve Stewart were Mayor.

  6. While I agree that our “leaders” in Tallahassee are anti business and in general are not good and the chart should be pointed the other way… this is not a trend. 3.6 percent over 5 years and a graph designed to make it look bad is not news. This can be attributed to Rick Scott cuts as much as city “leadership”.

    1. I agree with you regarding the trend. When you have an employment base of State workers that are a large percentage of the total employment base that haven’t received wage increases in years, and have had their numbers reduced, a decrease in the number of licenses would seem to be expected. Other data reported earlier about Leon county being kat among the top 23 counties in job growth reports the number, but gives no additional info regarding the composition of the employment base. Great “on top” click bait, more research and disclosure needed.

  7. I believe Rick Fernandez’s use of the word ‘exodus’ implies that businesses are not all packing at once and heading for the I-10 exits out of town. I do however believe that the ‘governmental climate’ both city and county is detrimental to the growth it desires. Going all the way back to the creation of the ‘Comprehensive Plan’. Businesses are leaving but I believe Rick Fernandez’s leadership can help stem that tide…if he can rein in Gillum, Miller, and Richardson.

  8. But But But, we have Domi Station as a business incubator, how can this happen? Surely, a entity funded by local and state government to pick “diversified” winners is a sophisticated and proven methodology to ensure small business success. A complete and utter joke, doing the least with the most, but hell bent on establishing these niche millennial business selling hot dogs, used clothing and beer. But it gets better — their next move is to build a bunch of restaurants and hotels around the Mag lab in hope scientist will flock for research project — just because we have some restaurants in walking distance.

    Think about it long enough and it will anger you to no end since there is really no stopping this runaway train of stupidity.

  9. Thanks TR for more well-researched and investigative reporting. While those in our city-county government ignore a declining local economy and the critical issues degrading our community (highest violent crime rate in the state, extremely high property taxes, etc.), businesses are quietly voting with their feet and leaving. This trend won’t stop (and may accelerate) as long as community conditions remain as they are.

    When I was a young FSU student in the mid-70’s, a good number of my fellow students chose not to leave Tallahassee after graduation, but to stay here and make it their home. At that time, Tallahassee’s reputation and quality of life was generally viewed by many graduates as far more preferable than most large FL cities.

    With our present city-county government and it’s self-serving agenda, that Tallahassee reputation may never be achieved again.

    1. My husband and I always drive to Jax to fly to DC. We can go the night before and spend the night, go out for a nice dinner, and still spend less than flying out of Tallahassee.

  10. I often have clients ask me why the bill I submit for airfare is so high. I recently billed a client three times what someone flying out of NYC billed. High airfare and the ever increasing parking fees at our “International” airport, (the one with no international flights), also places small businesses in a disadvantaged position when submitting competitive proposals.

  11. Good work TR for documenting this trend. This is not surprising given the tin ear City Commissioners and City Staff has when a businessman goes to them with a concern.
    It does not take long until you realize that there are better places to do business.
    Peggy, you are right, take a look at the cost of the study for a new tax to fund some more central planning.
    As Pogo said ” We have met the enemy and he is us.” i.e. City and County Government.
    Come the next election, we will re-elect the same people who increased taxes when they were running a surplus and lied about it. Go Figure.

  12. Nice work, Steve. And by the way, Peggy, we KNOW Mrs. Miller thinks we are stupid. She commented that the City needs to improve its education of voters by explaining that that our entire ad valorum tax amount doesn’t just go to the City, and that we (taxpayers)just don’t understand. Typical progressive reaction: taxpayers are too stupid to understand why they can’t just keep their money instead of sending it to a profligate kingdom like the City.

    1. John, if you would actually read your property tax statement you would see the itemized list of things that the tax goes to. While Mrs. Miller may have made some statements in error, this is not one of them. It appears that you are the proof of that. For example at your property at 2752 W Hannon Hill, you paid $4701.42 for 2015 taxes. Of that amount only $937.83 went to the City of Tallahassee. The majority of that went to the county (which the city commissioners have no control over), the school board and to state water management. Probably best to check facts before spouting off.

  13. The city keeps giving business more reasons to leave. Take a hard look at this new mobility fee study proposal. Just another tax in sheep’s clothing.Our city fathers must really think we are stupid.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.