City Council slashes number of required business licenses

The Chicago City Council has approved a measure that reduces the number of licenses the city requires by 60 percent.

May 9, 2012

Download Story

Small businesses in Chicago will need to obtain fewer licenses under a new ordinance passed by the City Council Wednesday.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said small business owners have complained to him that the high number of licenses have affected their ability to operate their business.

"My favorite is, if you want to sell a dog, that's a license. If you want to sell a collar to go with the dog, that's a license. And if you want to actually give the dog a washing, that's a separate license," he said.

Emanuel called small businesses the "life-blood" of the city. The new ordinance would slash the types of licenses the city required by 60 percent, dropping from 117 to 49.

Many aldermen spoke out Wednesday in support of the measure, saying the ordinance will make things less confusing for business owners, saving them money and time. Ald. Carrie Austin said she's glad the reforms also help the city crack down on bad businesses.

"Some of the fines on here are drastic. They are designed to do one thing: to hit you in the pocket. Because if you're not gonna be a good business in this city, we don't need you," she said.

Infractions like consumer fraud or deceptive practices could cost business owners from $2,000 dollars to $10,000 dollars in fines, according to the ordinance.