O’Ban: Government shouldn’t sour kids’ entrepreneurial spirit

OLYMPIA…Lemonade stands are as much a part of Americana as baseball and apple pie. And Sen. Steve O’Ban wants to ensure that the tradition can continue, although unfettered by government regulation – tax free and without a food handler’s permit.


O’Ban, R-Pierce County, introduced Senate Bill 6320 this week. It would exempt lemonade stands run by kids ages 14 and under from health department and Washington State Department of Revenue requirements that sometimes result in the long arm of the law coming down on kids who are trying to earn a little extra money.


“For many kids who run lemonade stands, it is their first experience with business. It gives them a taste of what it’s like to be an entrepreneur,” explained O’Ban. “They learn about supply and demand, production, pricing, promotion, overhead and profit. It’s a real-world lesson delivered in a fun way. Government shouldn’t sour that for them.”


Currently, lemonade stands are subject to state and county health regulations that require a food handler’s permit – something not all kids can afford or have the online access to obtain. The junior entrepreneurs are also required to have a business license and file a tax certificate with the Washington State Department of Revenue.


Although these rules are often not enforced, O’Ban’s bill would clarify the law, removing these barriers that can unnecessarily complicate a simple and innocent pastime.


“The loss of any revenue from lemonade stands across Washington will not have any effect at all on state finances. It’s ridiculous that government wants a piece of that action,” said O’Ban. And, I can find no case where someone has gotten sick from a glass of lemonade served from a homemade stand. Health department regulations on this are a solution without a problem.”


The bill is also intended to highlight how some Washington legislators often attack small business, making it unprofitable and unfeasible to operate.


“Small businesses are owned by people who are trying to make a living and support their communities. We should be encouraging that – not making it more difficult and more expensive. Small business is the backbone of Main Street,” said O’Ban.


Bills supporting lemonade stands are popping up all over the country and Country Time Lemonade has a legal fund called Legal-Ade that will pay fines for lemonade stands that are shut down.