The Daily Rundown: Take the Tax Break, Leave the Plastic Bag

San Francisco is making it easier to open a small businesses, tax-free back-to-school shopping is ramping up and the pros and cons of charging for disposable plastic bags.

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The Daily Rundown

Welcome to the Small Business Run Down. Each day, we bring you stories and trends that impact small business owners and their workforce.

It’s August. The dog days of summer are upon us. San Francisco is making it easier to open a small businesses, tax-free back-to-school shopping is ramping up and the pros and cons of charging for disposable plastic bags.

San Francisco streamlines the process for would-be SBOs

Opening a small business in San Francisco is about to get easier, thanks to a new plan by the Board of Supervisors to streamline the permitting process. A growing number of empty storefronts across the city spurred the governing agency to take action to ease zoning codes and standardize regulations between the city and state.

The Number: 8.  A city-wide study found that it can take a new business more than 8 months to receive the necessary permits to open.

The Quote: “We have to get rid of the barriers and delays that get in the way of trying to open and run a small business in this city. People should be spending time serving their customers and our neighborhoods, not trying to navigate city bureaucracy.”

Tax-free back-to-school shopping a win for businesses and consumers

Gone are the good old days when all you needed for school was a notebook and a No. 2 pencil. Getting kids ready for another school year can put a significant financial burden on families these days. Savvy retailers participate in tax-free days throughout the month of August, attracting back-to-school shoppers and boosting sales for big and small stores alike.

The Number: $100. In many states, the cut-off for tax-free goods is $100. 

The Quote: “It’s great to shop local [on the tax-free day]. It’s convenient for us, and they’ve got great service at all the local businesses. That’s what we appreciate.”

To charge or not to charge? A look at the plastic bag question

As New York prepares to completely ban the use of single-use plastic bags in March of next year, more and more businesses are grappling with the question of whether they should charge for plastic carrier bags

The Number: 80%. While there are many environment-based arguments for banning the bags, some studies say that plastic bags actually take 40% less energy to make and create 80% less solid waste. Insert puzzled emoji here.

The Quote: “There’s some evidence that charging people for bags can turn them off green behavior. They might even decide to buy somewhere else.”

April showers bring May flowers…and August brings the babies

In general, the busiest time of the year for obstetricians, midwives and labor and delivery nurses in the US is August and September. Make sure that your business is ready for a baby boom by checking out this guide to maternity leave.

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