Mat-Su district will no longer need business licenses

April 3—PALMER — Businesses operating in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough will no longer be required to purchase and display a borough permit starting this week.

The business license requirement was repealed by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly in a unanimous vote Tuesday. The repeal will go into effect once the measure is signed by borough Mayor Edna DeVries, a step expected this week.

First implemented in late 1995, the permit came with a $100 fee and had to be renewed every two years. Businesses that paid for the license before the repeal vote will not receive a refund, Borough Manager Mike Brown said Tuesday.

The change does not impact state and local requirements. Businesses operating in Alaska must have a state-issued license, which carries a $50 annual fee; those in the Mat-Su towns of Palmer, Wasilla or Houston must have a city-issued permit, which costs $25 per year.

More than 10,000 entities currently hold borough business licenses, according to Assembly Member Stephanie Nowers, whose district includes Palmer.

Data collected from these records has not been used for any economic development tasks for at least 20 years, according to a memo accompanying the proposal. Revenue from licensing fees functions solely as a business tax, the memo states.

Borough officials said they expect to lose about $541,000 in annual revenue from license fees. They said they hope to more than make up for that loss by redirecting business licensing staff to focus on grant applications to secure new sources of federal funding.

Business registration information, which the borough previously used to contact local businesses about regulatory changes and available programs, is reflected in data already shared by the state, borough officials said during a meeting.

The proposal was sponsored by DeVries and Borough Assembly members Dee McKee, whose district includes parts of Palmer and Wasilla, and Rob Yundt, whose district includes Wasilla.

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