Long Beach Considering Waiving License Fees For New Businesses

City Council voted Tuesday night to authorize the city manager to conduct research on the fiscal impact of waiving business license fees for all new businesses in their first year in Long Beach.

Forgoing the fees could help to encourage new businesses to take root in Long Beach, councilwoman Suzie Price said. This would include existing businesses that relocate to the city or brand-new establishments just starting out. However, it has yet to be determined whether the measure would actually benefit the parties involved.

“I think it is long overdue for us to be thinking like this,” councilman Al Austin said. “How far does this go to really incentivize a new business to come to an empty storefront downtown and in north Long Beach or on the west side? We have to have some realistic expectations here.”

A typical retailer in Long Beach is required to pay an annual base fee of $340 plus an additional $8.85 per employee. The city of Glendale, which is of comparable size to Long Beach, requires $254 for the first year and 25 percent of that for each year after.

In the grand scheme of things, many see the license fees as minimal, but others say a few hundred dollars can be a steep loss to a fledgling company.

“The costs associated for the businesses are relatively minor but can be very impactful to a small business that is trying to establish itself within a city,” Price said. “[It’s] something we can do as a city to make ourselves more attractive to new businesses.”

At this point, the goal is for the council to educate themselves on how much of a financial hit, if any, the city would take as a result of the waiver. No decisions on the matter have been solidified.

“We can think about what some programs and incentives would be that we could offer to businesses that want to establish in the city,” Price said. “Having a revenue source is very important to us and not taking away our revenue source is very important in terms of continuing our services to the people of Long Beach.”

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