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P.O. Box 40002 ∑ Olympia, Washington 98504-0002 ∑ (360) 902-4111 ∑



Executive Cabinet Agencies

FROM: Gary Locke, Governor
DATE: February 27, 2002
SUBJECT: Extension of the Master Business License Program

In August 2001, I convened the Washington Competitiveness Council (Council) and charged it with the task of developing ideas to make our state a better place to do business. In December, the Council presented me with a final report that included many recommendations and covered five main areas - taxes and fees, regulations and permitting, infrastructure, human capital and innovation, and benchmarking. Some of the Council recommendations are long-term in nature, and others can be tackled immediately.

The Council recommended a number of actions for streamlining permitting and regulation. One of these was that the Department of Licensing (DOL) expand its Master License Service (MLS) to local governments. MLS simplifies the registration and licensing process by offering the five most common state registrations and other regulatory licenses through one master application. DOL then distributes the information and payments to the appropriate agencies for license approval. I made a commitment to the Council to implement this recommendation promptly.

I hereby direct all executive agencies to cooperate fully with DOL in expanding the MLS, where appropriate, and to streamline or modify their own licensing processes. The interagency Unified Business Identifier (UBI) program currently provides some cross-agency registration services, using the MLS as its base, but we can do more. In addition, UBI partners should determine how they can support MLS in expansion efforts with new partner agencies and local governments.

Extending MLS to local governments and to more state agencies is the next step we must take to improve the quality of our services to small businesses. The MLS has reduced the burden on small businesses applying for state licenses through a one-stop licensing approach. By simplifying the licensing process and providing a central point of collection for data and fees, the MLS will help business owners comply with state and local government requirements in one step. DOL's success with pilot projects in Bellevue and Richland have shown that this expansion will save time for businesses, increase compliance with licensing requirements, and reduce the administrative burden for local governments.

This effort will require teamwork and an up-front commitment from all of the state and local partners, but we all will reap the benefits. I understand that you are under increasing pressure to do more with less. However, in the long-term, this investment in efficiency will reduce the cost of government and contribute to the creation of the "single face of government" for the public. We must strive to remove barriers to new business creation and assist new businesses in complying with licensing requirements. This cooperative effort is essential to improving our business climate and continuing our award-winning leadership in customer service and digital government.