Pelham council opposes business license exemption bill

PELHAM – The Pelham City Council passed a resolution at a March 20 meeting opposing Senate Bill 31, which would exempt prescription drugs from business license tax based on gross receipts.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Billy Beasley, means that the sale of prescription drugs wouldn’t be included in the calculation of the cost a business pays for its license.

Mayor Gary Waters spoke out against the bill. He said he is opposed to any bill that reduces the city’s current level of funding.

“We have a target on our back when it comes to our funding stream,” Waters said.

City Council President Rick Hayes said if passed, the bill would impact only a subset of retailers, giving them favor over others.

“If we say this one group doesn’t have to pay business licenses, then we have to go to another group and charge them more to make up the difference,” Hayes said. “It’s not fair to the other businesses.”

Councilwoman Mildred Lanier said she worries that the passage of the bill would cause a ripple affect with other industries seeking similar exemptions.