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LETTER: Unimpressed with ‘small’ business owner’s comments about St. John's tax hike

Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor

I read an article in another news publication yesterday which has left me angry and disheartened with Brenda O’Reilly, partial owner of O’Reilly’s Pub and YellowBelly Brewery, and her so called “small businesses.”

As we all know, the city of St. John’s raised taxes for the upcoming fiscal year, and O’Reilly’s comparison of her business to the rest of the small-business community has left me wondering if I will ever frequent one of her establishments again. Ever.

O’Reilly indicates in the article that she employs over 200 people at her businesses. This is hardly the employment history of any of the small storefront businesses in the downtown core. Sobeys or Walmart don’t hold similar employment numbers in any one store, so how does this qualify O’Reilly’s businesses as “small” in stature?

The employment history of her businesses was discussed after she made her feelings about a $4,900 tax hike at YellowBelly known. She indicated this increase will cost her business jobs. A $4,900 increase in taxes for the year means the monthly cost is a little over $408. I would like to know who O’Reilly employs and what they do that they only costs her $408 a month? How many positions does she think this $408 a month is going to cost her?

I’d like to see a comparison between O’Reilly’s car and house and that of her employees, not to mention tax returns. Didn’t she just buy a church which is intended to become her next great business venture, namely another brewery and restaurant?

The comment she made that really grinds my gears however is when she indicates that the city is providing housing services which are a duplicate to services being provided by the province, and that instead of increasing taxes the city should have cut some of these duplicate services to save money.

Does she know who this housing is for and what kind of service it is providing? These are low income families who need this subsidized housing options to survive.

There is a decent chance that very few of the people availing of these services frequent her businesses regularly, if at all.

I have been a loyal and generous patron of O’Reilly’s for years. If I visit George Street for an occasion, nine times out of 10 I attend O’Reilly’s Pub because no other bar holds a similar atmosphere as O’Reilly’s. I will truly miss the good times I have enjoyed there, but refuse to support (it now). I have discussed this matter with friends and family who hold similar views.

And I truly feel for the actual small businesses that are going to be hurt by this tax rate increase.

Calvin Monk

Portugal Cove-St. Phillips

Related story:

St. John’s business owners ‘distressed’ by city budget: CFIB

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