McClaughry: Scott’s contractor bill veto

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!

state of Vermont/Facebook

Gov. Phil Scott

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.

Images courtesy of Public domain and state of Vermont/Facebook

4 thoughts on “McClaughry: Scott’s contractor bill veto

  1. The rational behind this kind of legislative initiative appears to be that Vermont citizens are not sufficiently competent to do business with each other. After all people have treated other badly…right? The commonweal needs to continue the mission of managing our interactions. This whole idea of pursuing our own happiness just isn’t working out. Is this what we wanted when we cast our votes? Will we feel protected from bad neighbors? OR will we be creeped out by this as patronizing and intrusive over reach? …a government presuming to RULE us instead of representing us?

  2. The legislature typically doesn’t consider unintended consequences. Small scale contractors would likely continue to work under the table on a cash basis. The cost to consumers for larger above board projects would be driven up by lack of competition and increased costs for the contractor.

  3. Being forced to become “Energy Police” for Vermont’s GWSA mandates was the reason I declined to re-register my professional engineering license. Thank God I am registered in another state.

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