A Denver city Councilwoman is making national news after she proposed a highly controversial (possibly unconstitutional) tax.
Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca has suggested taxing white-owned businesses to fund racial reparations to minority-owned businesses.
During a Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance forum, CdeBaca proposed the taxation that 9 News NBC reported would “almost certainly prompt constitutional challenges.”
“Capitalism was built on stolen land, stolen labor, and stolen resources,” said CdeBaca, who identifies as a Democratic Socialist.
“You could be collecting those extra taxes from white-led businesses all over the city and redistributing them to Black and Brown-owned businesses,” CdeBaca said.
The Denver Councilwoman wants to create a business improvement district (BID) to levy the tax.
In Denver a BID is “a quasi-governmental agency created by a vote of business owners in a specific area. The BID has the ability to level taxes based on assessment for a variety of purposes.”
CdeBaca claims that the constitutionality of the tax wouldn’t be a factor because BID taxes are “voluntary.”
However, a spokesperson for Denver’s Department of Finance said that once a BID is established, any taxes are not voluntary.
“Non-residentially assessed property owners within the BID are required to pay the additional taxes/fees,” said spokesperson Courtney Meihls. “It’s not voluntary.”
To support her proposal, the Councilwoman cited some policies enacted by San Francisco, which is seeing an exodus of businesses.
But those San Francisco policies are wreaking havoc in the city. Whole Foods, T-Mobile and others have decided to jump ship.
“Decisions like this are never easy, and this one has been especially difficult,” wrote Jamie Nordstrom, Nordstrom’s chief stores officer, in a memo obtained by CNN. “But as many of you know, the dynamics of the downtown San Francisco market have changed dramatically over the past several years, impacting customer foot traffic to our stores and our ability to operate successfully.”
Recently, the councilwoman claimed that her words were taken out of context after she received national backlash from her comments.