Eighty-two of LA County’s 88 cities require a business license for every business within their borders, but currently, the County only licenses about half of the 15,000 businesses in our unincorporated areas. Our current business license program only focuses on those businesses that impact the public’s health, safety, and welfare, for example, food service, laundromats, motor vehicle repair, salvage dealers, and taxi cabs.

That means the County lacks any mechanism to reach more than 7,000 businesses with information about County services, including trash pick-up, emergency information, and business assistance. It also means the County is unable to proactively enforce laws that apply to these local businesses such as minimum-wage and wage theft laws, and without information about these businesses, it’s hard to develop comprehensive plans for the County’s future economic prosperity.

To address this information deficit, Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Janice Hahn teamed up for a Board motion to improve communication between the County and local businesses.

The motion calls for the development of a plan to create a county business registration program. The registration program will exclude home-based businesses and those businesses that already have a County business license.

“I feel strongly that the County has a responsibility to our local businesses and their employees, as well as the communities in which these businesses are located, and we want to provide them with essential information, to make sure that they are abiding by the law, and include them in our future planning,” Kuehl said after the vote.

Hahn added, “By allowing businesses to register with the County, we will not only be able to connect business owners with resources and contracting opportunities to strengthen their businesses, we will be able to provide support to local workers and ensure they are treated fairly and receive the wages they deserve.”