What exactly is a small business?

Posted: Monday, September 15, 2003

Regarding business license fees quadrupling from $50 for a two-year license to $200: I just had to write on behalf on the "small" businesses in ourstate. Apparently our legislators and especially our governor, need some clarification on what constitutes a "small" business. I consider it fairly accurate to state that the majority ofpeople considerthe aforementionedto be a locally owned business such as a retail store with10-20 employees. The increase of $150 may be an irritant but will probably not cause a small business owner to lose a night's sleep.

Now, a truly "small" business in Alaska can be afamily who sells produce at a farmer's market, a woman who makes and sells jewelry at craft bazaars or a man who owns and operates a "shopper's guide" publication. The majority are often sole proprietorships. In reality, we should be called, "micro" businesses. This huge increase in license fees can and most likely will have severe effects withthis category. Residually; talented, motivated andenterprising people who are the backbone of all businesses, will bediscouraged upon considering start-up costs of new micro businesses in our state. (And thislatestoutrageoriginates froman administration thattotes itself as "pro-development and pro-business?")

I find itpreposterous and highly unfair that our legislators have chosen to lump the big boys (Home Depot, Sam's Club and Carrs), the small businesses and the micros in the same, generic category. What in the world were they thinking when theyapproved this? And while it doesn't surprise me that our governor requested the fee to be raised to aastronomical $400; it clearly disturbs me that these individuals are so utterly out of touch with their constituents that they never considered the vast difference between big, small and utterly small. Myassumption is thatwhen too many complain, we'll be told, to just eat cake!

Robin Near

Fairbanks



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