Monday, December 17, 2007

Scrooge McLicense

Local Christmas tree vendors who set up shop each year in parking lots around town say they won't be doing business in London after this year now that the city has raised seasonal license fees from $285 to $1,000. And driving these retailers out of town is "just the point" of the hike, as Brett Stein, the City's licensing manager, admits…

…which is just the worst point of licensing by-laws, if its purpose has become to determine who succeeds and who fails in the marketplace. Stein does make some mumbling about the cost of recovery for policing complaints about these operations regarding traffic flow, cleanliness and operating hours, but one has to wonder why the City isn't passing off the responsibility of policing terms of lease on private property to the private property owners themselves. But the primary purpose of the fee increase is clearly punitive — or protective depending on which side of "established" the business happens to be on. As Stein says, "the fee hike had the support of the London Chamber of Commerce because it supports existing retailers." Of course it does… what business is going to resist punitive regulatory pricing of its competitors? And just as certain is that this policy will not benefit Londoners in any way at all.


Jake said...

What a fantastic way for the city to drive away independent small business from town--increase licensing fees four-fold so they cannot make a profit. This will allow a virtual monopoly on tree sales for those evil "big-box" retailers that the socialist cabal hates so much.

This will also drive local independent farmers from setting up produce stands on the side of the road in the summertime. Who the hell will sell anything here when they have to shell out $1000 first?

This city is causing irreparable damage to the small business community. "Word-of-mouth" will make not only retailers, but customers think twice before shopping here.

Elaine said...

This is why London will remain boring, and not a place where people want to live or visit.

NIAC said...

I read this and honestly wonder for whose benefit this increase would be?

(I mean this in a drag-them-out-of-office-and-rebuild-the-gallows kind of way.)

Anonymous said...

I stand in awe of the creativity of London's ruling class. The city is well on its way to becoming a paradise on Earth. No messy commerce; little traffic (because the roads are undrivable); no riff-raff on the sidewalks, thanks to the surveillance systems. When they make it the First Gated City, they will have achieved what we mortals can only marvel at and envy, here in the outer darkness.

Vivat Londonia, Shining Beacon!

Diversity Workshop said...

Viva Londonista!
Peace through disharmony.
Viva Londonista!

Elaine said...

It is stupid, and the downtown merchants are stupid. Scared of a little competition is what it is. They don't have enough sense to realize that people who would never venture downtown, because it is boring and plain, might go down there if there were street vendors.

Street vendors bring something to a downtown, it is called consumers. They might buy the hotdog off the vendor, but they will at least know the other stores exist. Perhaps they might not feel like a hotdog one day, maybe two, maybe they want to go in a resturant and eat. Not offering choice, and closing out competition, is just sooooo Londonistan, just sooooo dumb.

Richard said...

Free enterprise starts from the ground up!
Indepenent business enterprise is what gives each town a feeling of individuality. You might as well be a non-descript mall with the same stupid stores as the next mall. City hall is making a very very very huge mistake by doing this. This will only create resentment.

I'm not going to buy a Christmas tree from a big box store. They already have pushed a lot of small businesses under. Forget it!

London city, WAKE UP! This is a very big mistake!