By John McClaughry
On Feb.10 Gov. Scott vetoed H.157, the Small Contractor Registration bill, on the grounds that “this bill favors larger and more established businesses at the expense of small, entry-level businesses by imposing, by law, specific contract and insurance requirements that many of the smaller businesses will not be able to meet.” Good for him!
What the governor didn’t mention is that in addition to driving out small competitors to favor their larger competitors, it’s also the first step toward forcing all contractors to be licensed and policed by the state, and meet strict state-mandated energy conservation standards or pay serious fines — all as part of the never ending war against the Menace of Climate Change.
As I wrote in a column last April, “It’s not enough that the [contractor’s] customer knows what he or she wants, and the contractor offers to provide it at an agreed price. It’s not enough that Better Business Bureaus, the experience of friends and neighbors, and online resources provide information about contractor competence and reliability.”
“The regulatory power of the State must be mobilized to entangle and control especially the small-scale local handyman and fixer-upper contractor, which means there will soon be fewer of them. … The larger issue is, what will become of Vermont and Vermonters when our every activity, our every transaction, comes under the reproving eye of a coercive state government determined to have its way?”
John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.