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Weekly Nanny State Update
Whether it’s regulating what you eat, where you can eat and even what kind of plate you can eat on, the Nanny State is out there protecting you from yourself. Here are some examples of Nanny State overreach and regulatory expansion :
• Bureaucrats in Massachusetts are continuing the fight against food trucks. The town of Scituate recently raised the license fee from $15 to $50 and banned sales in high volume areas like beaches and parking lots. According to Chairman Anthony Vegnani, “I like that this has many more layers to it than before. (An applicant) can’t come before us and start vending the next day.” Apparently putting "more layers" between entrepreneurs and success is what nanny state lawmakers aim to do. Said one business owner, “If we followed these bylaws, they wouldn’t be able to sell anywhere.”
• From the city that brought you salt intake regulations, New York is at it again. In an attempt to protect homeless New Yorkers from eating too much salt and fat, Mayor Bloomberg has banned food donations to the homeless. Since the city can’t assess the nutritional value of all food dropped off at shelters and kitchens, the Department of Health and Homeless Services now prohibits any donation that may feed a homeless person. It’s this type of reasoning that pushes the boundaries of regulatory ridiculousness.
• Styrofoam is cheap, easy to produce and distribute and is great for storing meals on the go. Of course it should become a target of the Nanny State. After an initial warning, police in Hermosa Beach will begin fining violators $100 to $500 for using Styrofoam containers in public. Industry experts point out that Styrofoam has been safely used in food distribution for over five decades, but that’s not enough to convince the Hermosa’s self-styled Green Task Force from getting polystyrene products banned.
• If Hermosa Beach wasn’t already on your Nanny State radar, it should be after banning smoking in all public places, including outdoors. The fines range from $100 to $500 with a criminal misdemeanor charge following three offenses. No word on how much money businesses will lose in sales of tobacco or complementary items like alcohol and food. If Hermosa Beach follows Maryland’s policy lead, you won’t be able to smoke anywhere in the town, even your own personal vehicle.
• TurboTax recently released its assessment on the most bizarre taxes paid in America. It’s hard to choose, but our favorite might be the 8 cent tax on pre-sliced bagels in New York.
Thankfully some sane politicians are working to roll back the Nanny State.
• About a year ago, Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) pledged to repeal burdensome regulations in 2011 and did so successfully. Now Governor Scott wants to take out another chunk of Florida’s 20,000 administrative rules targeting 1,000 regulations for repeal in 2012 that govern everything from education to dwarf tossing.