To the Editor:
I wanted to provide a small-business perspective on the recent Daily Chronicle editorial (Aug. 25) proposing a massive tax hike on video gaming operators and establishments.
At the Mardi Gras Bowl in DeKalb, we have found video gaming to be an important part of our overall entertainment mix.
It is a steady source of income that helps us to invest in our building, equipment and environment. It also is critical to keeping our employees working, earning a paycheck and paying taxes to the community.
Bowling is a challenging business today. Many of our regular customers are getting older and the pressures of today’s working environment means that younger bowlers do not have as much time to devote to the pastime as previous generations.
Much of our income is seasonal. While video gaming is a smaller source of revenue, it is steady. Without it, we could be forced to lay off employees during the slow seasons or even shut our doors.
Bowling alleys are large buildings, yet the number of customers that can be accommodated in that space is limited. We pay substantial local property taxes to support the community and schools but cannot generate the revenue that other, comparably sized retail businesses earn.
We are proud of the role we play in the community, and that is an important factor in our motivation. Bowling is low-cost, family-oriented entertainment that can be enjoyed by everyone. Parents are able to use our facility as a fun, but inexpensive, venue for birthday parties for children and youth of all ages. It is a safe and secure environment that can be enjoyed not only by young children, but also by teens and young adults who are often difficult to entertain in small- and mid-sized communities.
Our facility regularly hosts fund-raising events for the community and to benefit individuals and their families who have suffered a tragedy or are facing a medical crisis.
The customers who enjoy video gaming at our facility are looking for another low-cost, enjoyable option for entertainment and socializing. For our adult customers, it complements that entertainment we already provide.
I realize that I represent the perspective of only one business. Every business has its own challenges and pressures.
A tax increase on video gaming will have a permanent, negative impact that will cost far more than any small increase in revenue might warrant.
Owner, Mardi Gras Lanes
SOURCE: DAILY CHRONICLE