Recently there was a public hearing in the DC Council regarding Bill 24-301, the Business and Entrepreneurship Support to Thrive Amendment Act of 2021. Introduced by Councilmember Pinto, this bill aims to simplify business licensing processes for new and existing businesses.
Councilmember Pinto's letter of introduction notes the difficulty of starting a business in the District. There are several complex and outdated licensing requirements that entrepreneurs must meet, making it increasingly difficult to see their vision come to life. These requirements were cited as making it particularly difficult for women and minority entrepreneurs who may have less access to capital, less support, or both, to help navigate the licensing process, especially during the COVID pandemic.
It was stated that it is often not known by license applicants which license they will need, nor the cost or time it will take to complete the process. Complicating things further, future business owners will typically need permission from several city departments before they can officially open their new business. This legislation addresses these issues in some ways, it:
Reduces the number of basic business license categories from 100+ to 10, greatly simplifying the licensing process.
Lowers initial license fees to $99 for two years (or $49 for six months), allowing for an exemption from fees for businesses with under $10,000 in annual revenue, and establishing a progressive fee structure for renewals based on annual revenue.
Sets up a more straightforward process for business licensing by removing outdated and duplicative requirements.
Allows DCRA flexibility to implement policies and procedures as necessary to serve the District’s burgeoning business community better.
Streamlines the law by transferring sections of the code not directly relevant to the basic business lice
After this public hearing, the next step in the legislative process is for the Committee to vote to send this legislation to the full Council, but there is no timeframe for that at this time. CLPA will continue to provide updates on this legislation as they develop. Contact Councilmembers Pinto, McDuffie, Nadeau, or Chairman Mendelson, if you want more information or have concerns about this bill.