Lemonade Freedom

By Ian Aikens | January 22, 2020

Do you ever read about something in the news that gets your blood boiling?  HB1147 currently in committee in the state legislature gets mine up to a thousand degrees. Don’t get me wrong: it’s a positive, simple, and logical piece of legislation that needs to be voted into law without hesitation, but the fact that such legislation is needed speaks volumes about the state of liberty and government overreach these days.

HB1147 prohibits a city, town, or village district from licensing a lemonade stand operated by a person under the age of 18. It is an amendment to RSA 31:102-a which applies to “Hawkers, Peddlers, and Vendors” and allows municipalities to “adopt, by ordinance or regulation, provisions for the licensure and regulation of itinerant vendors, hawkers, peddlers, traders, farmers, merchants, or other persons who sell, offer to sell, or take orders for merchandise from temporary or transient sales locations within a town or who go from town to town or place to place within a town for such purposes.”  Lest you think we’re talking about just a “friendly reminder” here, think again: “Any person who violates any provision of such ordinance or regulation shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor, and each continuing day of violation after notice shall constitute a separate offense.” The moment you don’t comply to bureaucrats in power, they start up with their threats and fines and escalate from there.

So why all the interest in lemonade?  In case you haven’t heard, police across the country have been shutting down lemonade stands run by kids for years. It could be a coincidence, but the first reported case of a municipality shutting down a kid-run concession stand occurred in Salem Common, Taxachusetts on August 3, 2005 after a nearby sausage vendor complained to the police that a lemonade stand run by a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old was hurting his business. A county inspector in Maryland closed down a kids’ lemonade stand and fined their parents $500 on June 16, 2011. On April 16, 2012, city health officials in Hopkinton, Taxachusetts shut down the Westbury family stand that sold lemonade, cookies, and banana bread from the end of their driveway to spectators at the Boston Marathon and donated the proceeds to the Relay for Life anti-cancer charity. The official explanation was lack of a permit. On August 8, 2013, police in Queens, New York shut down a lemonade stand run by 9-year-old Nora and 11-year-old Jameala Lahoud also because they didn’t have a permit. On July 28, 2018, a New York State Health Department bureaucrat ordered a 7-year old to stop selling lemonade from a stand set up in his backyard in Ballston Spa, New York. The list of “crimes” committed throughout the country goes on and on.

Why would anyone deny young people the opportunity to become budding entrepreneurs and learn life skills that encourage independence and self-reliance?  A study in Educational Psychology Journal found that early youth engagement leads to future entrepreneurs. A Youth Impact Report in 2017 compared kids who had been involved in the national Lemonade Day program (which teaches children how to gain practical entrepreneurial experience by running a lemonade stand) to those who had not been involved. It found that 31% of the Lemonade Day kids are running their own businesses today while only 4% of the non-Lemonade Day kids are running their own businesses. One father penned “3 Sales Lessons You Can Learn from a Simple Lemonade Stand” after observing what his own son learned from his lemonade stand: fearlessness, cross-selling, and understanding what your customer is really buying. Just ask Warren Buffett or Todd Graves, founder of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers enterprise, where they got their first taste of business smarts: selling lemonade. To most of us older folks, kids selling lemonade was a normal part of childhood on the way to adulthood. Today the growth of government — with its strangulating reach of the administrative state — has coincided with overwhelming efforts to extend childhood later and later and treat young adults like children. (In San Francisco, where I used to live, the voters actually passed a ballot measure extending “youth” benefits up to age 24.) Is it any wonder that there’s a whole crop of “youth” out there in colleges and universities who have been so overprotected by helicopter parents that they can’t deal with the normal responsibilities and stress of adult life and are justifiably called snowflakes?  Clearly more children-run lemonade stands are needed, not less.

Another strange twist to this whole lemonade business is the bill only protects those under the age of 18. Aside from the fact that this is age discrimination — something that those who believe “there ought to be a law” for everything we say or do profess to be opposed to — what has age got to do with “public safety”? Isn’t “public safety” the justification for all these types of licensing, fees, and regulations?  Is an adult more likely than a child to put arsenic in lemonade he/she is selling to the public?  If not, then what’s the reason for the original law and now apparently the need to grant an exemption?  It turns out “public safety” is the least of the real reasons for enacting such laws. It’s all about eliminating the competition, and that’s all it’s ever been or will be about. Occasionally the real truth slips out. Police in Appleton, Wisconsin informed children that despite legally selling lemonade and cookies in their front yard during an annual city festival for the last 7 years, a new ordinance bans these sales in order to protect licensed vendors. In Denver police shut down a lemonade stand last spring run by two young boys who were raising money for Charity International because they didn’t have a permit that would have cost $30. And how did the police happen to notice their stand?  They were “informed on” by a lemonade vendor at a nearby festival who was charging 10 times as much as the kids for a glass of lemonade. To me, this sounds a lot more like an extortion racket (“pay to play”) than “protecting” the public.

This brings up the whole question of government licensing and regulation. Don’t get me started!  The explosion of licensing of jobs has reached epidemic proportions all over the country, and I am not happy to report that New Hampshire is doing poorly in this department these days. A cursory glance at what current bills state legislators are cooking up to license more jobs this year include art therapists; massage, reflexology, and Asian bodywork therapy; music therapists; pharmacy benefits managers, and locksmiths. At the rate they’re going, will the politicians soon be requiring licensing just to work at McDonald’s?  Lest you think I’m exaggerating how absurd the licensing-industrial complex has boomed these days, here are a few facts to ponder: 1) In 1950, only 5% of jobs required a license, but in 2020, it’s 30%–and getting higher all the time; 2) 37 states require a license just to shampoo hair in a salon; 3) Over 20 states require a license to paint houses; and 4) On average, emergency medical technicians require 120-150 hours of training to be licensed, but interior decorators need to complete 2,200 hours of training. Is there no end to this authoritarian paternalism?  Do consumers really need to be treated as helpless children who can’t choose their own service providers based on reputation, word-of-mouth, and voluntary professional association certifications?  Does a piece of paper issued by a government bureaucrat really guarantee that an individual or business is going to provide “safe” and sound service?

Another issue HB1147 broaches is local control versus central control. As a general rule, local control is the lesser of the two evils because, just as people differ, so can communities. Certainly urban, suburban, and rural folks tend to all have different political values and sensibilities, so as long as overreaching laws are kept local and not imposed on all communities, at least one can “vote” with their feet. However, when laws are passed statewide or even nationally, then voting with your feet is less effective. That said, tyranny is alive and thriving at the local level, and often times the biggest violations of individual rights happen locally when power-hungry selectmen, and planning board and zoning board members throw their weight around and ignore property rights and constitutional protections. So, in this case, though it’s a state law that overrules local control, it does protect individual rights — though in a small way — and puts a harness on local busybodies, so it should get 100% support.

I will keep an eye on what happens with this bill. It was introduced on January 8, 2020 and referred to the Municipal and County Government Committee. It’s due out of committee on March 5, 2020, so let’s see what the politicians do with it. I’ll be watching how Reps. Hayward and Rooney and Senator Bradley vote on it when it comes to a vote. I can’t imagine any reasonable person opposed to this bill, but in politics anything is possible!

References:

Freedom Center of Missouri (Dave). (2011, July 26). The Government War on Kid-Run Concession Stands. Retrieved from http://www.mofreedom.org/2011/07/the-government-war-on-kid-run-concession-stands/

Golombek, Allan. (2019, August 30). Buy From a Lemonade Stand, Take a Stand for Freedom. Retrieved from https://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2019/08/30/buy_from_a_lemonade_stand_take_a_stand_for_freedom_103887.html#!

Gordon, Steven. (2019, August 30). Op-ed: New law provides more freedom for kids to launch a lemonade business. Retrieved from https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2019/08/30/op-ed-new-law-provides-more-freedom-for-kids-to.html

Legiscan. (2020). NH Legislation | 2020 | Regular Session. Retrieved from https://legiscan.com/NH/text/HB1147/id/2072323

 

AREA Petition Filed

By S.D. Plissken | January 16, 2020

A correspondent informs us that the AREA advisory petition was filed with the School District Clerk by Tuesday’s deadline and its signatures have been verified. This option will be on the School District ballot.

Canvassers obtained more than double the necessary signatures, well on their way to triple, which was excellent work for a later start. Only three signers were not as registered as they might think they are, but they have time still before the election to check their status.

A School Board member and a Board of Selectmen member looked in on the canvassing process. They did not sign, but agreed to the limited extent that they are reported to have felt it was in the best interests of Milton to explore all possibilities in educating the children of Milton.

Congratulations to Mrs. Laura Ott Turgeon and Mr. Les Elder for their effective effort. On to the election.

(For the text of the AREA advisory petition see AREA Petition Signing Times (The times, of course, are past)).

 

AREA Petition Signing Times

By S.D. Plissken | January 9, 2020

There is another petition afoot that seeks to begin to address Milton’s rather astonishing school expenses.

This Citizens’ Petition seeks to direct the Milton School Board to talk with neighboring school districts to determine the feasibility of creating an Authorized Regional Enrollment Area (AREA) (see RSA 195-A in References) for sending high and middle school students out of district.

Milton registered voters are to have several opportunities to sign:

  • Friday evening, January 10, at Dunkin’ Donuts (565 White Mountain Highway), from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM; and
  • Saturday morning, January 11, again at Dunkin’ Donuts (565 White Mountain Highway), from 10:00 AM to Noon.
  • Sunday morning, January 12, again at Dunkin’ Donuts (565 White Mountain Highway), from 10:00 AM to Noon.

(The filing deadline is Tuesday, January 14 [Corrected]).

The text of the AREA petition is as follows:

To see if the voters of the Milton School District shall direct the Milton School Board to enter into talks with neighboring School Districts to determine the feasibility of an AREA Agreement according to RSA 195-A for the purpose of sending our high school and middle school students out of district.

One hesitates to say without more information, but the petition language might suggest that the Milton School Board has refused hitherto to consider or enter into such talks on its own. A public board, responsible to the taxpayers, would never choose to put its own notions before the interests of the taxpayers that are paying the costs. That just could never be, right?

One imagines instead that the Milton School Board will leap at the suggestion that they determine if such an agreement is even feasible. And if it reduces our burden, they could not help but be interested. So, this petition would seem to be another one that seeks rather moderate ends.

One of its proponents has argued that “This does not pin us down to one school or another,” while requiring transparency in that its findings would necessarily be public.

Readers may find several random examples of such agreements in the References below, including even an interstate agreement between Orford, NH, and several Vermont towns. Surrey’s AREA agreement with Keene provides for a 2.5% tuition discount in exchange for its 20-year commitment.

References:

Milton School Board. (2020, January 8). Milton School Board Meeting, January 8, 2020. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zw2T7c12Yo

Rivendell Interstate School District. (2011, March 26). Articles of Agreement for Rivendell Interstate School District. Retrieved from www.rivendellschool.org/images/stories/districtinfo/Articles_of_Agreement_Amended_03-26-11_FinalCorrected.pdf

State of New Hampshire. (2016, June 21). RSA Chapter 195-A. Authorized Regional Enrollment Area (AREA) School. Retrieved from www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/xv/195-a/195-a-mrg.htm

SAU #19. (2014, January 9). Goffstown-New Boston AREA Agreement. Retrieved from www.goffstown.k12.nh.us/attachments/article/215/Goffstown-New_Boston_AREA_Agreement.pdf

SAU #75. (2015). Grantham-Lebanon-Plainfield AREA Agreement. Retrieved from https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0xxSV9o0oV9TzJsOU9sLUNiUjg/view

VPR. (2013, November 15). Blinkhorn: Kennedy and Dresden [Dresden School District]. Retrieved from www.vpr.org/post/blinkhorn-kennedy-and-dresden

 

Milton Tax Cap Petition Filed

By S.D. Plissken | January 8, 2020

A correspondent from the Milton Taxpayers Association (MTA) reports that the Tax Cap petition warrant article was filed yesterday with the Milton Town Clerk. The MTA obtained over triple the number of required signatures. This measure will be on the ballot.

The MTA invites those who signed to regard themselves – if they so choose – as valued members of the association. Note: some thirteen of you may not be as registered as you think you are. Fortunately, you have time still before the election to resolve that.

Refusals were exceedingly rare. Had the MTA set out earlier, it might have obtained even more multiples of the necessary signatures above what they did collect. I might point out what such numbers imply. In the unlikely event that they encounter any shenanigans between here and the ballot, say at the deliberative session, they should have no trouble in calling their own special town election, or even a succession of them, to put things right again.

I am told that volunteer canvassers had some interesting conversations along the way. They found that a long line of excessive tax increases has engendered scant “appreciation.” Many signers expressed even a bit of disappointment. Capping future tax increases at these proposed levels seemed to them a rather minimal starter option. They would have preferred something much more comprehensive.

They may rest assured that this option – minimal though it may be – will appear on the ballot each and every year until it passes. (Most NH cities have had it for years already, including Dover, Franklin, Manchester, Laconia, Nashua, Rochester, Portsmouth, etc.).

Milton’s various boards and committees, including its Board of Selectmen (BOS), will henceforth be working diligently for the MTA. Every time they raise taxes above the proposed tax cap, they will be encouraging yet more signatures and more votes, until the tax cap is passed.

But why suffer through all that? Get it done this time around.

Final Tax Cap Signing Date

By S.D. Plissken | January 3, 2020

Tomorrow (Saturday, January 4) will be the last opportunity to sign the Tax Cap petition at a designated time and place. You may find a Milton Taxpayers Association (MTA) representative either seated inside Dunkin Donuts, between the hours of 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM or, thereafter, in front of the Milton Mills post office, from approximately 10:15 AM until 11:15 AM (longer if not painfully cold). They hope to see you there.

There might be still some amount of door-to-door canvassing, but not for long after. The next stop is submitting the signatures to the Town Clerk.

I am told that MTA canvassers received the following cookie fortunes at their most recent meeting: “Any idea seriously entertained tends to bring about the realization of itself,” and “A person with a determined heart frightens problems away.”

Those sentiments would both seem to be very much in the spirit of this serious and determined effort to limit the unconscionable growth of local property taxation.

I hope that my contacts in the MTA will keep me – and thus you – abreast of their progress.

Two More Signing Opportunities

By S.D. Plisskin | December 27, 2019

Santa left no tax caps under the tree. If only it were that simple. He did leave signature sheets.

I am informed that your last chances to sign the Tax Cap petition will be Saturday, December 28, 2019, and Saturday, January 4, 2020.

On those days, you may sign at Dunkin’ Donuts, between the hours of 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM, and at the Milton Mills post office, from about 10:15 AM until 11:15 AM (and later if weather permits).

The more the merrier.

Your “John Hancock” Sought

By S.D. Plissken | December 20, 2019

As a delegate to the Continental Congress, and its president, John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence in July 1776. His signature appears first and is the largest by far. It is likely apocryphal that he said he wrote it large so that King George could read it without his spectacles.

John Hancock SignatureHis name became a synonym for “signature,” although perhaps less so in recent years. But you may have been prompted at some time or another to put your “John Hancock” upon some document.

This is one of those times and one of those opportunities. The Milton Taxpayers Association (MTA) is sponsoring a petition warrant article (“Tax Cap”) that would limit future Town budget increases, and therefore, future Town tax increases, either to 2% or to the amount of the Consumer Price Increase (CPI), whichever amount is the lesser.

Now, a Tax Cap is no panacea. It will never change the mindset of those who think that more and more of your money, year after year, is never “enough.”  You need to identify them and cease gifting them your vote. A Tax Cap can not by itself restrict their other methods of increasing taxes, nor their excessive “fudge factor.” We can work on that. And the Tax Cap’s limitation begins at the current absurd baseline, rather than backing out past excesses.

One might think of the Tax Cap as a place to start. When you find yourself in a hole, it is time to stop digging. Past time really.

There is really no doubt that the Tax Cap will appear on the March ballot. But will your “John Hancock” appear on this declaration?

As mentioned previously, a representative of the MTA may be found at Milton’s Dunkin’ Donuts shop this Saturday (tomorrow) between 8:00 and 10:00 AM. (There is no reason to suppose that the Dunkin Donuts corporation has any part in this). I have been given to understand that they will proceed from there to the front of the Milton Mills post office, where you may sign from about 10:15 AM until 11:00 AM.

If you would like to further assist in this groundbreaking effort, petition sheets may be obtained from MTA representatives for you to use in canvassing your friends and neighbors. (Those friends and neighbors that are Milton registered voters, that is).

I have been given to understand that signage will become available also as the election approaches.

References:

Wikipedia. (2019, October 25). Law of Holes. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_holes