Friday, February 24, 2012

John Stossel: I Tried to Open a Lemonade Stand

Hope John and FOX Business don't mind but this is an excerpt taken from John's program last evening. There are so many regulations that even the regulators don't know what exists. It is about time that wide sweeping Sunset Laws are put in place to get government out of the way and put the people back in charge of their own welfare.

If I want to buy a glass of lemonade from the neighbor's child, I'll buy it without looking for the Employer ID #, the Food Protection Certificate, the Sales Tax Certificate, the Temporary Food Service Establishment Permit, or the fire extinguisher. It would be laughable, if it were not so destructive to our entrepreneurial spirit.

Want to open a business in America? It isn't easy.

In Midway, Georgia, a 14-year-old girl and and her 10 year old sister sold lemonade from their front yard. Two police officers bought some. But the next day, different officers ordered them to close their stand.

Their father went to city hall to try to find out why. The clerk laughed, and said she didn't know. Eventually, Police Chief Kelly Morningstar explained, "We were not aware of how the lemonade was made, who made the lemonade, and of what the lemonade was made with."

Give me a break. If she doesn't know, so what? But kids trying their first experiment with entrepreneurship are being shut down all over America. Officials in Hazelwood, Missouri ordered little girls to stop selling Girl Scout cookies.

It made me want to try to jump through the legal hoops required to open a simple lemonade stand in New York City. Here's some of what one has to do:

1)Register as sole proprietor with the County Clerk's Office (must be done in person)

2)Apply to the IRS for an Employer Identification Number

3)Complete 15-hr Food Protection Course!

4)After the course, register for an exam that takes 1 hr. You must score 70% to pass. (Sample question: "What toxins are associated with the puffer fish?") If you pass, allow 3-5 weeks for delivery of Food Protection Certificate.

5)Register for sales tax Certificate of Authority

6)Apply for a Temporary Food Service Establishment Permit. Must bring copies of the previous documents and completed forms to the Consumer Affairs Licensing Center.

Then, at least 21 days before opening your establishment, you must:

Arrange for an inspection with the Health Department's Bureau of Food Safety and Community Sanitation. It takes about 3 weeks to get your appointment. If you pass, you can set up a business once you:

-Buy a portable fire extinguisher from a company certified by the FDNY and set up a contract for waste disposal.

We couldn't finish the process. Had we been able to schedule our health inspection and open my stand legally, it would have taken us 65 days.

Article came from FOX Business report here.

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