4 Mar 2009

Businesses in Northern Marianas facing huge surge in licensing charges

4:52 pm on 4 March 2009

Businesses in the Northern Marianas could face a hike of nearly 6 thousand percent in licensing fees.

That's the claim of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce president, Jim Arenovski, if a new bill becomes law.

He says licensing fees for banks, wholesalers, roadside vendors, scuba tours and virtually all other businesses could face annual hikes of from 100 percent to 5,900 percent.

Mr Arenovski has asked the House Ways and Means Committee to reject the bill which he says is simply another attempt to increase taxes in the guise of fees.

The increase would mean licence fees of between 95 and three thousand dollars.

Wholesalers, for example, will be required to pay 3,000 dollars instead of the current 50 dollars - an increase of nearly 6 thousand percent.

Roadside vendors of local fruits, vegetables and fish products who currently pay $5 in annual business licences will be required to pay $100.