Georgia’s small businesses support a Senate measure that would help eliminate many of the costly hassles associated with obtaining business licenses and permits in the state and create a more efficient and transparent system.
Senate Bill 2, dubbed “The FAST (Fairness, Accountability, Simplification and Transparency) Act,” is a big step in the right direction, said Nathan Humphrey, state director of NFIB, the nation’s and Georgia’s leading small-business association.
“One of the hidden costs of running a small business, or any business, for that matter, is the time and effort it takes to fill out government forms and applications and wait on approvals,” Humphrey said. “The FAST Act would address this problem by simplifying the regulatory process and creative incentives for local governments to issue business licenses and permits in a timely manner.”
Introduced by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Sen. Mike Dugan, chairman of the Senate Economic Development Committee, SB 2 would require state and local agencies that issue licenses or permits to establish a fee schedule that includes turnaround times. If an agency is late in issuing a license or permit, the fee would be reduced 10 percent for every 10 days the agency is late. In addition, agencies will be required to offer expedited processing for a rush service charge, which can be no more than twice the original fee.
“We are creating more opportunities for entrepreneurs by removing the barriers to entry for both new and existing businesses,” said Lieutenant Governor Cagle. “Government cannot create jobs but it can create an environment that fosters job creation and innovation. The Senate is committed to working with our state agencies to simplify administrative processes within small businesses so that they can do what they do best: create jobs and drive economic growth throughout Georgia.”
Dugan said, “Nearly half of our citizens are employed by small businesses–many of these are often held back by redundant government bureaucracies. I’m proud of the work we have done on the FAST Act as we continue to look at avenues to remove pointless constraints for our greatest drivers of job creation. Georgia’s priorities are the Senate’s priorities, and we will continue to champion small business growth throughout the legislative session.”
SB 2 also would create a Building and Infrastructure Transparency Score, or BITS, to rank and compare each agency’s permitting process. Humphrey said.
“Small business really is the engine that drives Georgia’s economy,” Humphrey said. “The FAST Act would go a long way toward removing many of the obstacles that make it difficult for small, family-run businesses to expand and create jobs.
“Our members are ready to testify on the need for commonsense reforms like these that would make Georgia a better place to do business.”