The Chamber of Commerce has been a part of most American cities and towns for decades, a symbol of economic development and business. But in Sunnyside, the chamber is closing for different reasons.

Members and business leaders met recently to discuss closing the chamber, because they've lost their non-profit tax status with the federal government.

According to the Daily News of Sunnyside, quarterly employment taxes were not paid during a four-year span when Pam Turner served as their executive director.

Brittan Moore is the President of the Chamber, and said they've paid nearly $70,000 in back taxes, but that hasn't been enough. There's not enough money to keep the chamber open, so they will be closing their doors.

The tax issues were discovered in 2015 when Deb Estrada was serving as interim director and went through the chamber's financial records.

This closing could leave landmark community events in jeopardy, including the nationally famous Sunnyside Farm Implement Lighted Christmas parade. That's the huge event when dozens of farmers and others decorate with holiday lights and decorations, and parade through town.  It's their version of our Tri-Cities lighted boat parade.

Another large event coming later this summer is Sunnyside Days, a popular community celebration. Moore says other organizers and volunteers will have to step forward to make sure these events are coordinated and still happen.  There are hopes the chamber could reform under a different name, but officials say that takes time, there's lots of red tape and paperwork that make the process difficult.

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