Tax Talks Focus on Entertainment

Clubs and bars in New Haven may have to pay an extra tax to do business.

Preliminary discussions have begun to create a police squad dedicated to the downtown area. The news has some business owners upset.

Up to 400 people crowd into Toads Place every night in for a beer and a concert. To keep things under control owner Brian Phelps hires between 1 and 6 off duty officers for his bar.
“I'd rather have the police here on an individual basis so they know what’s going on and I have an officer at the front door all the time,”  Phelps said.
He pays for the officers out of his own pocket.  Police Chief James Lewis has suggested the creation of a force that would be dedicated to the entire downtown area. Officers would patrol every bar and club, and the owners would pay an entertainment tax.
No formal proposals have been presented at this time but discussions of the tax are enough to concern business owners.
“We’re just too far away," Phelps said.  "If they’re on Crown Street and there’s something going on here, are they going to take a Segway? Are they going to jog? Is there a horse patrol? We’re just too far."
Patrons at Toads Place agreed with Phelps. People said it’s impossible for one police force keep everyone safe everywhere.
“It doesn't sound like a good idea to me because this entertainment facility and others I go to are not close-by,” said Taryn Allison from Wallingford.
The proposed tax is only in the discussion phase, according to a spokesperson for New Haven Police.  The talks would have to become a proposal approved by New Haven's Board of Alderman and the State Legislature before the tax could take effect.

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