Exempting Home Based Businesses From Fees and Licensure

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Businesses Licensure

Ideally, what we were trying to do last year was we were trying to pass a bill that basically said, if you’re running a business out of your home that has diminutive or no impact on offsite, public facilities like roads and whatnot, that you should be exempt from licensure. Now, we got significant pushback from that last year. The League of Cities and Towns, a lot of cities and municipalities were like, “You can’t tell us we can’t regulate. “How are we supposed to shut someone down “if they’re selling drugs out of their basement “or doing pornography out of their basement?” Producing pornography is what I mean. Well, okay, so what we ended up doing was, what’s happened with a lot of these business licensures for small, home-based businesses, is it’s a way, at the end of the day it’s not about regulation, it’s about revenue. So, a lot of these cities don’t want to lose the revenue associated with these licensures. Not that the computer programmer who’s sitting in his basement and affecting nobody and making a living, why should he have to pay $75 for a business license? He has no offsite impact whatsoever. So I’m actually just trying to say, there is a line in the sand. If you’re a hairdresser for instance and you have 10 clients come, and you have to have 10 parking stalls, you’re having offsite impact.

Okay, not only that, you might be using chemicals, and everything like that. There sometimes are thresholds the cities feel like, we have to regulate. If you’re going to run a home daycare, for instance, and you’ve got kids in your home, do you have enough fire extinguishers and whatnot. So they want to still have control to be able to remove the license and shut you down if you don’t comply with their statutes or their ordinances. But I would say that most, 80, 90% of the home-based businesses are not those offsite impacts. These are families that are doing their best as entrepreneurs, many of them to make a living and we’re trying to remove the disincentive of starting a business out of your home and we’re trying to remove the revenue component these cities use with these licensures. – So, this is the fourth year that you’ve attempted to pass reform on home business licensure. What opposition have you faced in the past, and is it still the same opposition now? – Actually, no, I am very confident that we’re going to be able to get this through pretty quickly.

Last year we actually got it passed out of the House, completely approved without a single dissenting vote. In the Senate, we got it approved through the committee and it was on the third reading calendar, ready to be passed on the final night when it died. It was number 12th on the board and we ran out of time, so it died. So this year, and some of the opposition we had prior to last year was the League of Cities and Towns were fighting me until I had them, out of their own accord, go and do research to find out how much revenue is being generated from licensure, and is uniform fees, are they being uniform across every single city and municipality, and they came back with, they came back and said, actually, you know what, you’re right. This is being used for generating revenue. This is being abused in some cities. Not all cities, but in some cities. So they actually then sided with me and we were able to come up with compromise language for offsite impact to guide city councils in determining where they write that line in the sand and then anything that’s on the diminutive or non-impact offsite impact, they will still require the license without any fees. That was the compromise we had from last year. So in essence, it removes the revenue, the perverse incentive for revenue for these licensures which ultimately reduces regulation of these licensures.

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