Mow a lawn to earn money was once a fool-proof method for America’s youth to “make bank.”
Despite the entrepreneurial spirit of some active teenagers, a local city government’s business license requirement to mow people’s lawns.
According to The New American, a business license costs $110 in Gardendale, Alabama — the town in which Alainna Parris and dozens of other teenagers began mowing lawns for their neighbors at $20 to $40 a pop.
Given the apparent risk that a teen gives to a business’s market share, an employee of a local lawn care company reported Parris to the city regulators to stomp her competition. Due to the risk of being beaten by a teenager’s quest for quick cash, a complaint was filed. Paris’s operations were forced to cease because of the burdensome costs for approval to operate.
Aeon Skoble, a professor at Bridgewater State University, called this requirement unreasonable for teenagers who don’t have the means to drop $110 to make money on their own.
“This story is a perfect example of what licensure regulations are really about and why they are completely at odds with basic human rights,” Skoble wrote in a post for Learn Liberty. “This isn’t an accident. That’s the point of the licensure regulations — protecting established interests from competition.”
Parris’s grandmother in stating that the lawn company employee willfully went after a child for mowing lawns in the same neighborhood as they did.
“One of the men that cuts several yards made a remark to one of our neighbors, ‘that if he saw her cutting grass again that he was going to call Gardendale because she didn’t have a business license,'” Elton Campbell, Parris’s grandmother, told a local news station.
Reason reported that the city’s mayor, Stan Hogeland, was all for giving kids more access to opportunities for making money during their free time. However, he did not say whether or not a business license would be eliminated for children under the age of 18.
He would rather create a business license requirement for kids than remove the prospect of ducking business license requirements in general.
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