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‘Lemonade stand bill’ for kid-run businesses passes the House

Politics

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Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, speaks about his “lemonade stand” bill. | Screenshot

BOISE — A bill promoting youth-run businesses passed the Idaho House of Representatives on Monday.

The “lemonade stand,” or “youth small business freedom” bill, would allow children to run businesses making $10,000 or less to not need permits required by many local municipalities. The bill, introduced by Rep. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, would also make it so kids do not need to collect sales taxes that go to the state.

Nate told House members he remembers running a punch stand as a child outside of his home with a friend. He’s also seen young neighbors running their own successful business and the joys and skills it brings. Other times, government agencies have shut down such business like a lemonade stand, leaving unpleasant memories.  

“It was frustrating because the kids were just trying to do something – just trying to learn…and trying to experience business a bit and that’s what this bill is about,” Nate said.

The Brigham Young University-Idaho economics professor explained it’s also about making parents and youth feel comfortable about running their own business without government interference.

Nate said he worked with fourth-grade classes at Iona Elementary School while crafting the bill. Students sent Nate emails about how they want to run their small business without the fear of being shut down.  

All but Rep. Clark Kauffman, R-Filer, and Rep. Scott Syme, R-Caldwell, voted to send the measure to the Senate. The biggest concern seemed to be parents using the kids as “shell companies” to make money and avoid taxes or government oversight.

“I love the concept of the bill,” Syme said. “Kids at a lemonade stand … shouldn’t be subjected to the city. However, I’m concerned that there is (sic) multiple ways this could be worked around.

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