Mat-Su Borough will no longer require business licenses

PALMER — Businesses operating in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough soon will no longer be required to purchase and display a borough license.

The business license requirement was repealed by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly in a unanimous vote Tuesday. The repeal becomes effective as soon at the measure is signed by Borough Mayor Edna DeVries, a step expected this week.

First implemented in late 1995, the license carried a $100 fee and renewal was required every two years. Businesses that paid for the license prior to the repeal vote will not receive a refund, Borough Manager Mike Brown said Tuesday.

The change does not affect state and local requirements. Businesses operating in Alaska must hold a state-issued license, which carries a $50 annual fee; those in the Mat-Su cities of Palmer, Wasilla or Houston are required to carry a city-issued license, which costs $25 each year.

More than 10,000 entities currently hold borough business licenses, according to assembly member Stephanie Nowers, whose district includes Palmer.

Data gathered from those registrations has not been used for any economic development tasks for at least 20 years, according to a memo accompanying the proposal. Income from the license fees functions only as a business tax, the memo states.

Borough officials said they expect to lose about $541,000 in annual income from license fees. They said they hope to more than make up that loss by shifting business license staff to focus on grant applications to secure new federal funding sources.


Business registration information, which the borough previously used to contact local companies about regulation changes and available programs, is mirrored in data already shared by the state, borough officials said at the meeting.

The proposal was sponsored by DeVries and Borough Assembly members Dee McKee, whose district includes parts of Palmer and Wasilla, and Rob Yundt, whose district includes Wasilla.

Amy Bushatz

Amy Bushatz is a veteran journalist based in the Mat-Su covering Valley news for the ADN.