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Gov’t sucks 101: Business license needed for teens to cut grass

Conservative Review

If your teenage kids are trying to make some money cutting grass this summer, government is there to ruin it for them.

A city ordinance in Gardendale, Ala., requires entrepreneurial teens to show a city-issued business license before they offer their lawn services for some extra summer cash.

According to ABC’s Birmingham affiliate, a business license in Gardendale costs $110. Parents are complaining that their kids aren’t making enough money to recoup the cost of the license.

"I have never heard of a child cutting grass had to have a business license," said Elton Campbell. Her granddaughter cuts grass around the neighborhood. "She charges one lady $20, and another lady $30, and another girl $40 besides what we pay her."

But licensed lawn maintenance professionals are threatening to alert city officials to Campbell’s granddaughter because she was cutting grass without a license.

Gardendale Mayor Stan Hogeland said that anyone operating a business for pay within city limits must have a license. While sending police to shut kids down is “not a priority” right now, teens are still subject to the licensure law.

"I would love to have something on our books that gave a more favorable response to that student out there cutting grass. And see if there's maybe a temporary license during the summer months that targets teenagers," said Mayor Hogeland.

Even a temporary license for teens is a barrier to entry in the lawn-mowing market. This is a classic example of how crony capitalism operates. Established businesses lobby government for laws that make it difficult for smaller businesses to compete with them.

And in this case, responsible kids trying to make some money are the victims of dumb government policy.

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