Abolishing Business Licenses: Matanuska-Susitna Borough Repeals Unused Requirement to Streamline Operations and Support Economic Development

The Mat-Su Borough eliminates business license requirements

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly recently voted unanimously to repeal the business license requirement for businesses operating within the Borough. This change will eliminate the need for businesses to purchase and display a borough license, which was first implemented in late 1995 and required a $100 fee with renewal every two years. Those who already paid for a license prior to the repeal will not receive a refund.

The repeal of the business license requirement means that businesses in Alaska are no longer required to hold a borough license, but they still must have state-issued and city-issued licenses. The state-issued license requires an annual fee of $50, while city-issued licenses in Mat-Su cities such as Palmer, Wasilla, or Houston cost $25 each year. These requirements remain unchanged by the repeal.

Despite the fact that over 10,000 entities currently hold borough business licenses, data gathered from these registrations has not been used for economic development purposes in over 20 years. The income generated by the license fees primarily functioned as a business tax rather than supporting economic development.

Borough officials estimate a loss of about $541,000 in annual income from license fees but hope to offset this loss by redirecting business license staff to focus on securing new federal funding sources through grant applications. They note that business registration information previously used by the borough to contact local companies about regulatory changes and programs is already shared by the state.

Mayor Edna DeVries sponsored the proposal to repeal the business license requirement along with Borough Assembly members Dee McKee and Rob Yundt. Their goal is to streamline the process for businesses operating in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and shift their focus towards more beneficial initiatives that will support economic growth and development in the region.

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