Matanuska-Susitna Borough eliminates the need for business licenses

In a unanimous vote, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly repealed the business license requirement for businesses operating in the borough, effective immediately. The license was first introduced in 1995 and required a $100 fee with renewal every two years. Businesses that paid for a license prior to the repeal will not receive a refund.

Despite this change, state and city requirements for business licenses remain in place. Businesses in Alaska must have a state-issued license with an annual fee of $50, while businesses in Mat-Su cities like Palmer, Wasilla, and Houston are required to carry a city-issued license for $25 per year.

Over 10,000 entities currently hold borough business licenses. Data from these registrations has not been used for economic development purposes for at least 20 years and is primarily used as a business tax. The repeal is expected to result in a loss of about $541,000 in annual income from license fees.

Borough officials hope to offset this loss by reallocating business license staff to focus on securing new federal funding sources through grant applications. Business registration information that was previously used to contact companies about regulation changes and programs is duplicated in state data, making the license requirement redundant.

The proposal to repeal the business license requirement was sponsored by Mayor Edna DeVries and assembly members Dee McKee and Rob Yundt. They believe that eliminating this requirement will benefit businesses and streamline the process of operating in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

By Riley Johnson

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