Back in 2017, the Utah Legislature, at the encouragement of the Libertas Institute, passed Senate Bill 81 which exempted most home-based businesses from having to pay a fee in order to obtain a business license.
While most (but not all) cities have complied with the state law, some have gone even further by simply repealing all business licensure requirements for home-based businesses. But no city, to our knowledge, has taken it as far as Riverton.
City officials in Riverton have decided that they want to go even further by eliminating license fees for all businesses. First proposed by Mayor Trent Staggs and later approved by the entire council, the new policy will take effect on July 1 of this year.
For city leaders, this has been about making it free to do business in Riverton. Tawnee McCay, a member of the Riverton City Council, told Libertas Institute, “Government puts enough requirements on businesses, Riverton decided to eliminate our licensing fees to help encourage an unobstructed business market. Whether an established business that is looking to expand or an entrepreneur just starting out, Riverton is open for business.”
Based upon expected increases in city revenues, Riverton will be able to absorb the expected $90,000-$95,000 loss in revenue from the elimination of those business license fees. This does not take into account the possibility of increased tax revenue from businesses that decide to locate in Riverton or entrepreneurs from within the community who might feel more inclined to take the first steps in pursuing a new business.
Hopefully more cities like Riverton will start to realize the benefits of reducing onerous and arbitrary fees like business licensing in order to encourage a more prosperous local community.