New York City’s never-ending campaign of regulation against ordinary activities invites parallels to Don Quixote’s war on windmills. New York City: where clothes lines need a license, where puppet shows in windows are punishable with jail time, and now, in the city’s most recent push against such perilous activities, dog-sitters, too, will now come under the city’s careful scrutiny. NYC now issues licenses to dog-sitters, a job pet-owners often give to children or arrange through sharing apps like Rover.com.
As Shoshana Welssman and Jarrett Dieterle explain for The New York Post, “Millions of Americans around the country use neighborhood children or apps like Rover to care for their pets without incident. It’s a solution in search of a problem.” But restricting the blossoming “sharing economy” is becoming a national movement.
Closer to home, after pressure from the hotel industry, Denver, Colorado has begun licensing and taxing short-term renting services like Airbnb. Like NYC’s dog-sitting license, it’s not clear just what effect Denver’s new policy has, except to limit consumer choice and drive up prices.
Elsewhere, the taxicab industry has pressed for similar anti-competitive regulation and licensure against Uber and Lyft. Entrenched industries of all sorts will always push for this sort of behavior, in their own interests and against the benefit of consumers.
Nebraska has yet to fall prey to this sort of cronyism in the sharing economy, but there’s nothing in place to stop it, either. State Sen. Laura Ebke’s bill, Legislative Bill 299, would require a review of proposals to create new licensing laws and help root out old ones by making recommendations about Nebraska’s current occupational licensing laws.
LB299 would present a priceless opportunity to stop a New York City-style crusade against everyday commerce from ever reaching our part of the Midwest.
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