Deb Billado: New nightmares in regulation

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Deb Billado, chairwoman of the Vermont GOP.

When was the last time you hired a handyman or a contractor? Seriously think about it for a moment. It probably wasn’t all too long ago. Whether it’s minor repairs or a home renovation, it’s not uncommon for us to call a friend of a friend or look someone up online to help us fix our homes and businesses.

But, the Montpelier majority is not content with that. You see, they want to make it as difficult as possible for you to find someone on the free market to fix a door or repair your shed.

In H.157, the state of Vermont would require most contractors to:

  • Purchase at least $1 million worth of liability insurance;
  • Register with the state for the first time ever and pay new registration fees every single year;
  • Spell out a written contractor for every single task over a certain dollar amount, no matter how minor the project might be; and
  • Be subject to thousands of dollars in penalties for violating a single one of these provisions.

So if you need an old friend to lay down some flooring in your bathroom, watch out: he’ll be breaking Vermont law if he doesn’t abide by every single provision in this bill.

Oh, and this bill provides $200,000 in new funds to the Secretary of State’s Office so they can hire more bureaucrats to enforce the law.

How does this help with our goals of lowering barriers to joining the workforce, or making housing more affordable? Answer: it doesn’t. In fact, it stands in direct conflict with these goals.

Low-income contractors who are just struggling to make ends meet might not be able to afford to comply with all these provisions. This legislation leaves them behind.

This is absurd. As Senate Minority Leader Randy Brock, R-Franklin, noted, it’s simply “another administrative monster.” To be clear, this legislation affects all Vermonters — Republican, Democrat, or Independent — by raising the cost of living and doing business.

Thankfully, more than 95% of Vermont Republicans in the Legislature stood together in opposing it this past legislative session. But the Vermont Democrats are sure to try to ram it through anyway when the Legislature reconvenes in January.

And that’s not their only goal: they’ll try to pass a new rental registry too, which I’ll talk about in next week’s chair letter as part 2 of “regulation nightmare.”

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9 thoughts on “Deb Billado: New nightmares in regulation

  1. Thanks Deb.
    Overregulation and the resulting costs and consequences, could be a winning issue for candidates in the next election cycle.

  2. People need to licensed to mow lawns, how can we let this travesty go unnoticed?

    They have licenses for kids to use the soft serve ice cream machine locally, this is type of oversite we need!

    Licensing for French fry operation, burger flipping, sandwich making, egg frying, how does this state opporate and function with all these people doing unlicensed activities. Please give us more!

    Can we license politicians and pull their licens when they lie and steal? Please?

    How about when a politician says we are a Democracy? Can we pull their license?

    • GREAT comment Neil. Our damn legislators have gotten out of control. They need to smarten up and get it through their thick heads that Vermonters the taxpayers are the boss, We give them their damn paychecks. We voted their butts in.

      99% of these legislators are out of staters who moved here to take over and change Vermont into the damn state they left. There are some out of staters who came to Vermont because they liked the way Vermont was. They didn’t come here to change Vermont they came here to raised their kids here, We have a low (well did have) crime rate.

      We had great schools, plenty of jobs. We were known as Vermonters who were tough, hard workers, helpful neighbors, and independent. That’s slipping away real fast.

      Before long you will need a license to fart. !!!

      • The Climate Council is studying a 3% tax on flatulence as it contributes to global warming – cows, goats, cats, dogs, people, etc. Any voluntary or involuntary bowel related utterances escaping from said bowel shall be subject to such taxation. Along with this study will be a special task force applying additional fees to cabbage, baked beans, and any other food item that contributes to such activity.

  3. I replaced the rear seal in my girlfriend’s 4Runner. I don’t remember the cost, somewhere in the vicinity of $10, but it entails taking out motor mounts to lower the motor, removing the propellor shaft, transfer case, gearbox, flywheel. Toyota quoted her about a thousand dollars. I didn’t cost anything. Was that a ten dollar job for which I needn’t do any paperwork – or a thousand dollar job? Who decides?
    I saw at least part of a movie about sixty years ago. I don’t recall the name, but I’ll take a shot at it: “The Pod People” (I don’t recommend it). Aliens, presumably mobile vegetables that emerged from pods, copied and replaced existing people one by one. They did not have our best interests at – whatever a vegetable’s heart is. I saw the plot as nothing more than a fevered dream, but perhaps – particularly in light of the increased UFO reporting – I should rethink that. They seem to have a considerable presence in government.

    • lol Good one Francisco..
      I remember that movie. and you’re right they surely are in our government, especially here in Vermont (also in DC)

  4. As a business owner who has to maintain a license and insurance it isn’t fair to have handyman doing the same job with out requirements like insurance and licensing. There needs to be some requirements

    • What’s not ‘fair’, Sean, is that you have to have a license in the first place.

      Insurance is another issue. If a homeowner hires someone without insurance, caveat emptor. The homeowner has decided to assume the responsibility of a general contractor, ostensibly to save money. If something goes wrong, either the homeowner, the handyman, or both pays the piper.

      For example, if a handyman agrees to work on my house and hurts himself, he can sue me for creating a dangerous work environment. On the other hand, if, as the handyman, I agree to waive that liability, I accept the responsibility.

      Free markets are infinitely flexible. Contracts can be made in writing or based on a handshake. The problems occur when an elite political class takes control AND charges an ‘arm and a leg’ for their governance.

      After all, when is the last time OSHA ever accepted responsibility for an accident that occurred specifically because one of its regulations was actually followed? And when is the last time The State took responsibility for putting its hand in the economy? Do you think Leahy, Shumlin, Sanders and Welch accepted any responsibility for their part in the EB-5 fraud involving the Jay Peak fiasco? No. Of course they didn’t. And they never will.

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