Children Now Face Fines And Arrest If They Don’t Get A Permit To Mow Grass For Money


A regular summer right of passage for motivated teenagers across the United States in search of some extra spending money has always been cutting the neighbors’ grass. However, teens in Gardendale, Alabama, and many other cities across the United States, are about to get a rude lesson in how government overregulation stifles personal and financial growth.

Local officials and area law services have reportedly warned area teens that without a business license issued by the city, which costs $110, they are in violation of a city ordinance, thus violating the law, if they attempt to cut grass without a license.

It’s patently absurd that local teenagers can’t make a private agreement with a neighbor to mow a lawn without the government sanctioning the transaction by inserting themselves as the arbiter of who is allowed to legitimately cut grass.

Mowing grass in the summer is often one of the first jobs a motivated teenager will engage in during their summer break from school. But, with a business license costing $110 for a job that will likely be ongoing for a few short months in the summer, the cost will likely drive many ambitious entrepreneurial teens away from what would likely be a rewarding experience.

“I have never heard of a child cutting grass having to have a business license,” Elton Campbell, whose granddaughter, Alainna Parris, mows a few lawns around the neighborhood, told ABC-33/40.

“She charges one lady $20, and another lady $30, and another girl $40 besides what we pay her,” said Campbell.

The teen is disappointed as she felt like this was the perfect way for her to make some extra money during the summer.

“Just helping out and raising money for admissions and trips,” said Alainna Parris.

According to Campbell, Parris is allegedly being targeted by someone upset by the competition from the teen. That person is using the power of the state to eliminate his competition.

“One of the men that cuts several yards made a remark to one of our neighbors, ‘that if he saw her cutting grass again that he was going to call Gardendale because she didn’t have a business license,’” said Campbell.

Campbell called out the irony of trying to prevent a child from taking on a summer job, when they show an internal drive and take the initiative, as so many teenagers are not engaging in enterprising behavior, or taking on additional responsibilities, during their summer break.

“He’s coming after a kid when a kid is at least trying to do work. There’s kids at home on iPads and electronics and not wanting to go outside,” said Parris.

Mayor Stan Hogeland weighed in on the controversy, noting that when operating a business for pay within the city limits, you must have a business license. But, he also said that sending law enforcement after a child trying to earn extra money in the summer is not a priority. Unfortunately, however, if children do resist this tax on their entrepreneurial spirit — police force will most assuredly come. These children would most assuredly face at the very least, a fine, and possibly even arrest.

Hogeland stated he’s committed to finding a way to resolve this issue. But, of course, the government still wants its cut, so he will explore the possibility of a temporary license for summer months that targets entrepreneurial youth.

“I would love to have something on our books that gave a more favorable response to that student out there cutting grass. And see if there’s maybe a temporary license during the summer months that targets teenagers,” said Mayor Hogeland.

While it is heartening to hear Mayor Hogeland recognize that it’s unfortunate there are young people are complaining about the permits for cutting their neighbors grass for a few bucks and saying that he doesn’t want this to discourage kids from trying to earn money, the fact that he still believes that these kids should be licensed, speaks to the true insanity of government over regulation.

Written by Jay Syrmopoulos

Jay Syrmopoulos is an geopolitical analyst, freethinker, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs and holds a BA in International Relations. Jay’s writing has been featured on both mainstream and independent media – and has been viewed tens of millions of times. You can follow him on Twitter @SirMetropolis and on Facebook at SirMetropolis. You can support his work at Patreon. This article first appeared here at The Free Thought Project.

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10 Responses to "Children Now Face Fines And Arrest If They Don’t Get A Permit To Mow Grass For Money"

  1. Komar says:

    That was really low of that guy to involve the government. And for the mayor to actually consider requiring a permit just shows how greedy this country can be. What’s next? They will put a tax on children’s allowance? Children alone spend billions a year (mainly their parents money) so the government is getting plenty of tax dollars from the children. This needs to be stopped!

  2. Jim says:

    Since you seem to have missed it, you might want to know that Gardendale is a very red, very Republican area, so if your snipe about government was prompted by some idea that “liberals” did this, you can think again

    Gardendale also happens to be the area where they have openly admitted that their push to form a school system is prompted by a desire to rid their schools of minority students.

    They concocted a scheme to, well, steal a newly constructed $56M high school by saying they should not have to pay the existing district for it because It was constructed using bond money, while leaving the district with no school to serve the area not inside Gardendale. Tbe new school alsobsetves as the technical training site for almost 50% of the current district’s students.

  3. ROSA says:

    This is the most ridiculous thing yet and it must be another american corporation scheme to get more $$$. As if they haven’t gouged enough money from the world, now they are targeting children who are trying to make a little cash. Time to rid ourselves of corporate greed and get back to basics.

  4. Lauren says:

    Let’s get real folks. THIS IS ABOUT MONEY. People who are in the BUSINESS of mowing lawns for a living do not like competing with teenagers. They want to force citizens to pay the rate THEY want to charge for yardwork and landscaping. Those BUSINESSES pay into the tax rolls of the city…teenagers do not usually earn enough money to begin to pay taxes. This is the NEW America…minimum wages are now so high that teenagers will no longer be hired for opening positions. Daycares will soon start to claim that teenage babysitters need licenses too. Teenagers will STRUGGLE…parents will then have to STRUGGLE to help their teens with typical teenage expenses. This is the downside of FREE ENTERPRISE. Lemonade stands are already punished for these same reasons. LIFE JUST AIN’T FAIR. Thank love for the almighty dollar for your problems!


    That is seriously disturbing!!! Under the age of 18 should not be required to have a permit to make pocket cash doing hard work!!! That is so wrong Society is GETTING FAR TO MANY RULES!!! CASH GRAB OR WHAT !!!

  6. gallier2 says:

    It’s RITE of passage, like ritual, not right like not left.

  7. Ruffus23 says:

    When I was a kid 30 years ago they tried instituting a kiddie tax for jobs like this.. didn’t take there are ways around it.. organized crime starts again… hehe

  8. mrs a dunton says:

    utter nonsense. any officer who would arrest a CHILD for cutting someone’s lawn is not worth his/her salt. kids rely on being able to help others while making a little money on the side. What is this greedy world coming too. Get rid of this so called law before you really undo the United States altogether. it’s already heading toward the garbage heap with everything that is going on in the government

  9. Sandy says:

    Let’s give kids another reason not to go out and work. How much competition can a kid give a lawn service? They shouldn’t have to have a permit unless they are 18 or older.

  10. Joan Howard says:

    All okay.

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