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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24 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!

    • Laura hoch says:

      I consider this Legal Extortion focus on our youth by political officials who have lost all common sense, and have no integrity. This is super sad, I would never vote for an official who would back this.

  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.

  11. Steve W says:

    Don’t fuss….you keep electing the fools that make these laws!!!

  12. Ken Halleck says:

    Why not that make a simple ruling that students 12th grade and lower) will not be required to purchase a permit or (better still) GIVE it to them if you HAVE to keep track (which is ridiculous). Kids that WANT to work should be encouraged to do so, NOT DISCOURAGED!!! It will teach them responsibility , both morally and financial.

  13. M.D. Blake says:

    Government IS the PROBLEM, not the solution.

  14. Robert says:

    A kid making legal money with cutting a lawn is a wonderful way to make a couple bucks. Gets fined and jail ? Oh but wait you leave the drug dealers next door alone . I now have no respect for so called lawmen that will inforce this or Gov to allow this. This is truely very sad this is what can make good kids make bad choices .

  15. Luke Foster says:

    Simple fix. You can’t ticket anyone if their cutting the grass for free. Just tell the Govn to ram it up their butt.
    Have a agreement with the owner to pay you under the table. If the owner does not want to do it let him hire a pro turf company.
    Always a way to win and you don’t have to tell them everything.
    Wake up people. They do not have your best interest in mind.

  16. Scott says:

    Days after Gardendale made national headlines over a question whether teenagers should be required to get a business license to mow lawns, the city council took action Monday evening to clarify the intent of the law, the mayor said.

    “We passed an amendment to our business license ordinance that kind of cleared the air and the issue of kids doing what kids do,” said Gardendale Mayor Stan Hogeland.

    The amendment exempts any elementary, middle, high school or full-time college student from having to get a business license to do part-time work for hire, which includes mowing lawns, babysitting or operating a lemonade stand.

    “The city of Gardendale finds that a strict application of its Business License Code to young people who work part-time jobs while in school may discourage them from engaging in certain profitable activities, may pose an undue hardship for them and may limit opportunities for them to serve the community,” the ordinance states, in part.

    The debate started late last week when Gardendale resident and grandfather Elton Campbell took to Facebook to ask whether his 15-year-old granddaughter needed to get a business to mow neighbors’ yards for extra money.

    In an interview with Fox News, Campbell said his granddaughter, Alainna Parris, mowed his lawn and some neighbors’ yards to earn money for a missionary trip. He said the owner of a professional lawn care service contacted one of the neighbors and threatened to call City Hall and report Parris for mowing without a business license.

    Campbell’s Facebook post received hundreds of outraged comments.

    It even prompted fake news headlines such as this one, “Alabama mayor demands teens get $110 business license to mow grass for grandparents”, Hogeland said.

    Hogeland said the City Council amended the license ordinance to clarify “the spirit and the intent” of the city’s 2007 ordinance. It was never meant to apply to teenagers doing part-time work, he said.

    “We took action because I needed to get something in the books so that (teenager) didn’t have to look over her shoulder,” Hogeland said

  17. John says:

    This is bull crap because what if that child was cutting the neighborhood grass for free and had money on him and a cop stops him and says where is your business liscens he says I don’t have one so the kids going to get fined for doing service for someone else for free what is the world coming to and also if my mom says hey here is a hundred dollars just be I love you. Are the going to charge her for not having a business licens

  18. DGV says:

    Wow, I babysat to earn money when I was young. It taught me responsibility and money management at the least. My husband mowed lawns when he was young and he said it was an important part of his growing up. There is a fine line between control and letting motivated children become strong independent adults.

  19. Deon says:

    Yeah.. let’s see you arrest my kid for cutting grass for spending money.. let’s see if your life is with that $20

  20. Deon says:

    Yeah.. let’s see you arrest my kid for cutting grass for spending money.. let’s see if your life is with that $20

  21. John C. Randolph says:

    As I have said on may previous occasions, we’d only have to tar and feather a handful of these assholes annually to make the rest of them clean up their act.

  22. Dave says:

    Unfortunately, we asked for it and got it…that being gov’t intrusion. Once we as a society want gov’t to be there for us for one issue, Pandora’s box is open. The entire community needs to rally around that/those kids and demand they be left alone.

  23. Sammy Lewis says:

    Cut the grass and if anyone says anything just tell them you are helping a neighbor out. Always ways around it.

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