Recently, the Spokane City Council unanimously voted to remove a sole proprietorship business-licensing fee of $10. While the vote is laudable, the council can still do more to reduce the collective tax and fee burden placed on honest people who own small businesses in the Lilac City. Spokane has one of the highest business-license fees in all of Washington. Even Seattle’s business-license fee is less. More worrisome, Spokane’s business-licensing fee is eight times more than Spokane Valley’s. Revenue is important, but the city must temper its quest.
Cutting the business license in half will help make Spokane a more competitive city for small businesses. The fee reduction could be permanent or could be temporary until the economic climate improves. In these troubled times, Spokane must do its best to attract and keep small businesses. Successful small businesses have the potential to be an excellent revenue and employment asset to the city; provided small businesses are not fettered by onerous fees.