Autumn is in full swing! The temperature has cooled, leaves are beginning to change, and pumpkins are everywhere. This is the season to rake the yard, watch football, stock up on candy or try out a new dessert recipe.
But hidden in all those fun autumn activities is something scary – needless rules and regulations. You might not notice them at first, but each state has laws and mandates that put a damper on your fall plans. Take a look at how regulations impact your favorite fall pastimes:
- Raking leaves – Whether you plan to rake leaves for a little extra cash or hire a landscaper to get the yard prepared for winter, that work may be affected by permit requirements. If you want to rake leaves yourself, you often must check with your town or state to ensure you don’t need a permit, even if you won’t be starting a formal business. For professional residential landscapers, most states require a license that, on average, costs about $200!
- Baking – For anyone in New Jersey who wants to sell their delicious autumn treats, you’re out of luck. Although every other state has gotten on board with home baking businesses, New Jersey will not allow you to sell your snickerdoodles and pumpkin pies for profit. As for the rest of the country, most states have some form of licensing and regulation that governs home baking. You’d be hard-pressed to find real freedom to sell your baked goods.
- Beer tasting – Local breweries creating unique fall drinks are subject to all kinds of oversight. Breweries must comply with federal, state and local regulations governing how much they can brew, how they label and advertise, and where they are allowed to sell their products. The costs of applications, licensing, and compliance are inevitably passed on to you, the consumer.
- Trick-or-treating – Even an activity as innocent as trick-or-treating has fallen under the spell of government regulation. Several towns in Virginia recently passed laws banning children older than 12 from trick-or-treating. Punishments range anywhere from a small fine to jail time, and some can even be found guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor! Talk about punishment not fitting the crime.
You won’t find many fall activities that aren’t covered by some form of regulation or law. Your local or state government will have oversight of most of what you shop for, sell, or participate in this fall. These regulations serve more as a burden than anything else, hitting small business owners especially hard.
Luckily, many towns and states are discovering that they don’t need to stand in the way. Breaking down barriers is the way to ensure people can succeed.