Many kids have seen their entrepreneurial dreams go up in smoke when city police shut them down for not having a proper business license. Sadly, it’s happened all over the country, from Georgia to Iowa to Wisconsin to Michigan.
Well, Salt Lake City, Utah has had enough, and is cutting the red tape for lemonade stands and many other kinds of small businesses.
from Institute for Justice:
The Salt Lake County Council voted 6-1 to modernize and abolish a wide variety of occupational licenses. The county’s Planning and Development Division slashed around 150 pages from the business license ordinance, cutting dozens of license requirements and 45 different fees. On top of that, the new license fee schedule is revenue-neutral.
For starters, Salt Lake Valley could become a lot more fun with a lot less red tape. The council eliminated licenses for “amusement devices,” operating jukeboxes, circuses, carnivals, driving ranges, mini-golf, bowling alleys (a license formerly cost $15 per lane) and arcades, which used to cost $250 a year. Salt Lake County will no longer require a special business license for rooms where people play billiards, pool, and bagatelle, as well as “backgammon, cards, checkers or other games of similar nature, or any game played with beans, buttons, dice or similar devices.”
Building on this burst of common sense, the new business ordinance explicitly exempts “lemonade stands and similar operations run by children” from needing a license to work. Sadly, towns across the country have cracked down on kids’ lemonade stands. Seriously. Police in Coralville, Iowa shut down a four-year-old girl’s lemonade stand after just a half-hour of selling 25-cent lemonade. Three tween girls in Midway, Ga. had to close their lemonade stand since they lacked a “business license, a peddler’s permit, or a food permit, all of which would have cost them $50 a day to obtain for temporary use or $180 for the year.”
Meanwhile, adult entrepreneurs should have an easier time. Auctioneers, “automobile wrecking establishments,” florists, secondhand dealers, junk dealers and those hosting swap meets, flea markets, liquidation sales and parking lots, are also freed from licensing. Laundromats no longer have to pay $6 to register each coin-operated washer and dryer they own. Perhaps most fittingly, a $100 license to work is no longer needed to open an employment office.
Bravo, Salt Lake City!