The clubs purchase business licenses, pay property taxes, and generate massive amounts of revenue for the town in terms of the tens of thousands of tourists who flock to the bars all summer, spending their money in hotels, rentals, restaurants, shops, etc.
Hell, the bar owners even pony up their own money (without being required by any law to do so) to pay for extra police on high-density weekends like Memorial Day.
Now, however, Dewey Beach has decided to impose a $109 annual business license on all musicians payed to play within the town limits.
Of course the town wants revenue; all towns want revenue. And the idea of taxing people who don't live there--as most musicians don't--is far more attractive than taxing the people who might actually vote you out of office.
But it's the rationale that is just . . . sick.
Dewey Beach Mayor Diane Hanson brought up the issue with town council in recent months, and members soon approved the plan. Hanson says having artists pay for a business license is a matter of fairness.
“My cleaning lady, who makes far less than some of these bands do, pays $109. So why shouldn’t they pay their fair share?” asks Hanson, who owns rental properties in town.
“Do you really think it’s fair that [The Fabulous] Greaseband makes thousands of dollars working in Dewey for the summer and a cleaning lady who barely scrapes a living has to pay? That’s the bottom line. What’s fair is fair,” she says."What's fair is fair?"
Of all the idiotic, self-serving statements I have read this morning (I'd say this week, but I read a lot of idiotic self-serving statements) this is the winner.
Think about what Mayor Hansen has said:
We over-charge our domestic help [when we don't pay them in cash under the table], so it is only fair that we over-charge musicians.Why does your cleaning lady "barely scrape a living," Mayor? Probably because, as her employer you don't pay her shit, and then as the town mayor you take out a hefty chunk of what she does get.
Ironically, most business owners or the talent agencies who book the musicians will be paying the licensing fees for the musicians, and this will in turn be passed on to their patrons.
But the bar owners know exactly what's happening here--a shake-down:
“There is no question that there is a very organized minority of people in town who want Dewey Beach to operate the way they see,” says Jim Bauerle, the co-owner of Ruddertowne who has also decided to pay the fees for his bands. “What you see now is people who rented their properties for 25 or 30 years [and] now want to use them in their retirement and want the town to act the way they want. That’s the core issue.”