Running Boston’s Bureaucratic Marathon

Starting a small business in Boston often turns into a regulatory endurance test for would-be entrepreneurs. The City of Boston operates on the principle that more is better: more regulations, more separate requirements, more fees, more agencies reviewing an application, more hearings, more paperwork. Caught up in the process, Boston seems to have lost track of the purpose of their regulations: ensuring public health and safety and then allowing people to pursue their chosen professions and earn an honest living.

It is typical of Boston that there are eight different offices that offer assistance at speeding the bureaucratic process, rather than actually eliminating unnecessary requirements. But no matter how hard government workers try to help, start-up businesses often face a convoluted, onerous and expensive regulatory process. As the body of this report demonstrates, the City of Boston has created potent barriers to productive livelihoods, especially for those outside the economic mainstream.

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