How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 110425
Experience:  All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
Type Your Business Law Question Here...
Law Educator, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am being sued by the City of Long Beach, CA in Civil Court

This answer was rated:

I am being sued by the City of Long Beach, CA in Civil Court for refusing to pay $200.00 BID (Business Development District) fees. I have paid the business license for the past 3 yrs., but I have not paid the $200.00/yr. for BID fees, because I was not notified of the intent by the East Anaheim St. Bus. Assoc. to set up a BID. Many businesses in my building did not receive notification, because the Suite No's were left off of the mailing. I lost my case in small claims court, so now the City is taking me to Civil Court for non-payment. Out of the $2.4 Million in outstanding Business Licenses fees, including $900,000 in non-payment of fees that were sent to collections, I am among a small group the City is taking to court over late or non-payment of business license fees. In fact the City would gain only $5,800.00 if they collected from those they are taking to civil court; therefore I feel I am being targeted for being a taxpayer advocate in LB. Do I have a case?
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

I am afraid that under the separation of powers, the city governments are given the rights to levy fees or taxes or enact laws. When a city or government enacts a law or passes a tax, the enforcement power on that particular law or tax is left to the discretion of the city. Thus, if they did enact such a Business Development District tax and it was not paid, the city does have discretion in enforcing the taxes as they see fit.

They did make a mistake if they did not send proper notice addressed properly to you. This would absolve you of any delinquent fees or penalties. However, the city still has a right to enforce their tax and collect and while they are suing only a small group of individuals, I am afraid this is within their enforcement discretion.

As far as paying the fees, you have to weigh the cost to you thus far and into the future against the cost of $200 in order for you to fight over principle of objecting to a new tax or fee. This is simply known as "the economics of law," which can many times differ from the law itself.

As far as the ACLU, they will not get involved unless you can prove the tax is being enforced ONLY based on your age/race/sex/disability and that the city is targeting people for enforcement solely based on one of those reasons.

Similarly, in court, the court will have to uphold a lawfully passed tax/fee under separation of powers unless you can prove that the city is targeting individuals for enforcement based solely on age/race/sex/disability and for no other reason.

Thus, if the money is for a legally passed tax/fee, the chances of you prevailing in court will be very slim and the chances of you expending much more money than is owed in the tax/fee are extremely great. If you cannot prove discriminatory enforcement based only on age/race/sex/disability, your chances here are very small to succeed and that is what you need to consider given everything you have tried to this point has pretty much given you that indication.

I truly aim to please you as a customer, but please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. Please consider that I am answering the question or question that is posed in your posting based upon my reading of your post and sometimes misunderstandings can occur. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered.

Kindly remember the ONLY WAY experts receive any credit at all for spending time with customers is if you click on OK, GOOD or EXCELLENT SERVICE even though you have made a deposit or are a subscription customer. YOU MUST COMPLETE THE RATING FOR THE EXPERT TO RECEIVE ANY CREDIT, if not the site keeps your money on deposit.

Also remember, sometimes the law does not support what we want it to support, but that is not the fault of the person answering the question, so please be courteous.

Law Educator, Esq. and other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your fast response regarding my question about BID fees in the City of Long Beach.


Even though I did not like the answer, I appreciate your knowledge and honesty.



Kathy Ryan

Thank you very much. I truly appreciate customers like you and I really am sorry that the news I had to deliver was not really the best, but I appreciate you recognizing that we are constrained by the laws as they exist.

Related Business Law Questions