The 2017 Legislative Session in Georgia convened on Jan. 9, and one of the first bills to be considered by the Senate is one that would be a huge boost to the state’s small business owners.
Senate Bill 2, or the FAST (Fairness, Accountability, Simplification, and Transparency) Act, would make it easier for small business owners to obtain and maintain government-issued business licenses and permits. The bill would require state and local licensing and permitting agencies to establish a fee schedule that includes turnaround times. If the agency is late in issuing a license or permit, the fee would be reduced 10 percent for every 10 days the license or permit is late. Agencies would also be required to offer expedited processing for a rush service charge, no more than twice the original fee. Additionally, SB 2 would create a Building and Infrastructure Transparency Score, or BITS, that would rank and compare the agency permitting processes.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Sen. Mike Dugan, chairman of the Senate Economic Development Committee, introduced the bill, and NFIB/GA supports it.
“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,” NFIB/GA State Director Nathan Humphrey said. “The FAST Act would address this problem by simplifying the regulatory process and create incentives for local governments to issue business licenses and permits in a timely manner.”