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Our View: Home business bill rightly loosens gov’t regulation

April 22, 2018 GMT

A state legislative effort to ease regulation of home-based businesses is drawing the ire of municipalities, but it offers opportunities for the smallest of business to grow and prosper.

The state’s spotlight is on teacher pay right now. A key to paying them more is generating revenue to the state. Businesses do that through income tax, payroll tax, sales tax and a handful of other assessments. The more the state can do to encourage small businesses, the better it will be for government services.

So why do city governments find SB 1387 onerous? A lot of it concerns the rights of neighbors around home businesses. That’s valid, though the proposed law specifically defines “no-impact” businesses in terms of traffic and noise. We suspect a lot of the opposition is over eliminating the requirement to buy business licenses, a fee cities can now impose on even the smallest enterprise.

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In Lake Havasu City, the proposed law, if signed into law, would probably require modification to the two-year-old vacation rental ordinance. Vacation rentals are specifically allowed under the bill. City ordinance requires a business license. Otherwise, it appears, the city would retain its right to regulate vacation rentals under safety and nuisance provisions of state statute.

The look and feel of small business is rapidly changing, as the city’s support of a co-location workspace in the downtown area suggests. During testimony for the home business bill, a Chandler resident told of having a medical billing business in her home closed down. She worked from home in order to care for an elderly, ill parent.

Odds are, if she simply telecommuted for an established company, there would’ve been no problem. But because she was the business owner, city officials shut her down.

That’s real life, full of conflicts and balancing acts acted out day after day in thousands of ways. There’s no reason government at any level should make those paths tougher or interfere with livelihoods unless the public is somehow hurt.

It’s not a perfect bill, of course, for example allowing HOAs to have greater control than given cities. It would, however, force cities to put into practice their oft-repeated words of support for incubating, supporting and growing small businesses.

— Today’s News-Herald