(The Center Square) — As a parent, T.L. Matthew knows setting up a lemonade stand can be fun and educational.
“In my personal experience, setting up a lemonade stand with my daughter was a fun and rewarding bonding experience that taught her valuable skills in communication, entrepreneurship, and money management,” Matthew, the CEO and founder of Fayetteville-based SumFoods, told The Center Square via email. “Unfortunately, in many states, kids who try to set up their own businesses have been bogged down by unnecessary regulations and taxes, forcing them to obtain permits and licenses or risk being shut down or fined.”
They may not have to fret over paperwork for much longer in Georgia. The state Senate passed legislation allowing children under 18 years old to set up a lemonade stand without securing a permit or a license.
Senate Bill 55, known as the Lemonade Stand Act, allows pint-sized purveyors to sell non-consumable goods, pre-packaged food and non-alcoholic drinks. It also permits them to skip paying the taxman if their revenues do not exceed $5,000 in a calendar year.
“Lemonade stands have been a tradition for children across the country for decades,” state Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta, said in a news release. “The passage of the Lemonade Stand Act will allow children in the state of Georgia to continue this tradition without the added stress and expense of permits, licenses, or filing taxes.”
Matthew said such a change is a step in the right direction toward nurturing entrepreneurship and self-reliance among today’s youth.
“I believe this law will have a positive impact on the lives of many children, giving them the opportunity to learn valuable life skills and build confidence,” Matthew said. “By supporting this law, we can encourage more parents to help their kids set up lemonade stands and other small businesses, fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and creativity in our communities.”
Dr. Jason Sorens, senior research faculty at the American Institute for Economic Research and co-author of Freedom in the 50 States, said state action was necessary because local jurisdictions often say lemonade stands are subject to commercial enterprise bans in residential areas.
“It’s a zoning issue, actually. State governments have to do this because local ordinances banning commercial activities in residential areas have sometimes been interpreted to apply to lemonade stands,” Sorens told The Center Square via email. “The broader issue is one of home-based businesses. State governments need to set standards about what local governments are allowed to prohibit when it comes to home-based businesses.
“Unless a business activity is likely to disturb the peace and quiet, or the safety, of a neighborhood, local zoning ordinances should allow it town-wide,” Sorens added. “Local zoning authority flows from state legislation, and there is nothing improper about state governments circumscribing that authority.”
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor