In a historic move, the Matanuška-Susitna municipal assembly unanimously voted to cancel the request for a business license for companies operating in the municipality starting this week. The license was first implemented in 1995 and required a $100 fee to be renewed every two years. However, businesses that paid for a license prior to termination will not receive a refund.

The decision came after Mayor Edna DeVries and Assemblymembers Dee McKee and Rob Iundt sponsored a motion to eliminate the business license requirement. They believe that eliminating this requirement will benefit businesses and simplify the work process in the municipality of Matanuska-Susitna.

While state and city business license requirements still apply, businesses in Alaska must have a state license with an annual fee of $50, and businesses in Mat-Su cities such as Palmer, Wasilla and Houston must have a license issued by the city for $25 a year. Despite this, data from more than 10,000 municipal business registrations have not been used for economic development purposes for at least 20 years and are primarily used as a business tax.

The termination is expected to result in a loss of approximately $541,000 in annual license fee revenue. However, municipal officials hope to make up for this loss by redeploying business license staff to focus on securing new federal funding through grant applications. Business registration information previously used to contact companies about regulatory changes and programs is duplicated in state data, making the license requirement redundant.

By Samantha Johnson

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