Legislation would save local retailers and restaurants hundreds of dollars in annual license fees as they struggle to keep the lights on during the ongoing public health emergency.
Councilmembers Andrew Friedson and Evan Glass introduced legislation at Tuesday, Sept. 15’s Council meeting that would save hard-hit Montgomery County retailers and restaurants hundreds of dollars in annual license fees. Retail business, restaurants and others are struggling to keep the lights on, retain employees, and continue serving the community safely and responsibly.
Bill 40-20 would have the county select a uniform $15 trader’s license fee for all businesses subject to the fee, such as retailers and restaurants. Trader’s license fees currently range between $15 to $800 annually for any business that has retail inventory and the fee is established based on the value of that inventory. This action, enabled by a 2019 Maryland law sponsored by Maryland Sen. Benjamin Kramer and Del. Al Carr, would allow county businesses to pay a flat $15 annual fee starting in 2021.
Council President Sidney Katz, Councilmember Nancy Navarro, Councilmember Craig Rice and Councilmember Gabe Albornoz are co-sponsoring the legislation.
“This bill will provide modest but important financial relief to hundreds of local retailers and restaurant owners at a critical time,” Friedson said. “I’m proud to join Councilmember Glass on this effort that will save scores of local businesses hundreds of dollars a year. It’s a continuation of the entire Council’s commitment since the beginning of this crisis to support local employers and their employees, starting with the Public Health Emergency Grant program, continuing with the Telework Assistance Program, Reopen Montgomery, and a number of other initiatives aimed at helping our economy recover.”
“The economic slowdown caused by Covid-19 has resulted in tremendous hardship for all of our small businesses. This pandemic has forced us to rethink the way Montgomery County government operates by requiring us to modernize and find efficiencies in our policies, procedures and permitting,” Councilmember Glass said. “This legislation will save mom and pop businesses hundreds of dollars a year in government fees and help level the playing field between them and large national restaurant chains and retailers, ensuring all businesses pay an equal fee. I’m proud to join Councilmember Friedson in this effort to modernize our county policies and support our local businesses during a time of crisis.”
The bill is scheduled for a public hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 22 and can be viewed here.