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Published on Friday, March 31, 2017

Business license bills amended

EHB 2005 moved out of the Senate Ways & Means Committee last week with another amendment to change the timeline to phase in cities partnering with the business licensing system from 10 years to five years, if funding is appropriated.

ESSB 5777 passed out of the House Finance Committee with an amendment to make it similar to the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee’s previous amendments to EHB 2005. The only difference in the bills is the timeline to phase in cities partnering with the business license system, which this version changed from five years to 10 years. The amendment also:

  • Changed the hardship exemption for cities required to join the business licensing system from a more flexible hardship exemption to one allowing up to a three-year delay for city based on fiscal or technical hardship; and
  • Eliminated the option for cities to leave the business licensing system based on a fiscal or technical hardship.

With the exception of the timeline for implementation, the provisions of both bills are identical at this point. Both bills:

  • Require cities to participate in the state’s Business Licensing Service (BLS) for licensing;
  • Extend the exemption through 2020 to provide cities an option for to choose FileLocal as an alternative for business licensing;
  • Require cities to develop and implement a model licensing ordinance that includes a minimum threshold; and
  • Create a work group on apportionment of service income under RCW 35.102.130 staffed by the Department of Revenue.

AWC believes one of the bills will pass in the next few weeks with a final compromise that streamlines the license process for businesses.

Categories: Budget & finance