The BEST Way to Cut Red Tape in D.C.  

May 19, 2023

Washington, D.C., doesn’t have a great reputation when it comes to regulatory red tape. But thanks to IJ’s efforts, it’s finally getting cheaper, faster, and simpler to start a business there.  

Back in 2016, IJ’s activism team started knocking on the doors of small business owners to find out what regulatory reforms would make the business startup process less of a hassle, and our work since then through our District Works project scored a major victory this March when the Business and Entrepreneurship Support to Thrive (BEST) Amendment Act of 2022 passed the D.C. Council and went into effect.  

The law slashes licensing fees for new businesses, simplifies the start-up process by cutting more than 100 license categories down to 11, and eliminates new license fees entirely for businesses making under $10,000. That means more entrepreneurs testing more ideas, employing more people, and making it easier to earn an honest living in the nation’s capital. 

While our work in D.C. isn’t done, this new legislation is a breath of fresh air for local entrepreneurs. 

Success in D.C. also positions IJ to enact similar reforms elsewhere. Using the findings from Barriers to Business (our landmark case study of the business licensing and startup process in 20 U.S. cities), our District Works initiative has blossomed into a nationwide Cities Work project that has IJers working with city leaders across the country, from Boston, Massachusetts, to Fort Worth, Texas, helping more entrepreneurs pursue their dreams with fewer hurdles imposed by their local governments.

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