The Agitator #47
by Oliver_Halle
 The Agitator
October 24, 2012 11:39 AM | 2271 views | 6 6 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

The MDJ published an editorial from The Macon Telegraph on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, about “Renewing Licenses…and the law of unintended consequences.” The day before I received in the mail my annual business license renewal form. The new Georgia Immigration Reform Act requires that anyone holding a professional license must prove that they are an American citizen each time the license is renewed. I say again---not once---but each time the license comes up for renewal. And that also includes the required annual county business license. Needless to say, this has resulted in a huge backlog in the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, where professional licenses are processed. Considering that the governor has ordered each state agency to cut their budgets and personnel, this has caused a lot of people some heartburn. What used to take a matter of days to a week or so can now take months. In the meanwhile new applicants cannot practice their profession, whether it is to cut hair, massage therapy, or any one of a long list of occupations that the state licenses. This really helps the economy. The Cobb County business license renewal paperwork has to be submitted this year by November 22nd to ensure that it will be processed in time to get your license by January 1, 2013. In past years you could complete the process in a matter of days before the end of the year with no problem.

We’ve heard from Republicans on the national and state level for years proclaim that excess regulation is killing small businesses. I’m not sure what regulations they are referring to because they never really say. If it’s the burden of the tax code, I wonder when they plan to do more than talk about it and actually pull together and pass serious tax reform legislation. Perhaps they should consider this immigration law as an example of the wasted time, which means money, that will be spent after proving once that you are legally here in the U.S. What is the logic behind this requirement? I asked two of our elected officials last year who voted for the law, both Republicans, the “why” question. You’ll never guess what they said, and you can’t make this stuff up: they hadn’t read the bill in the detail that might have alerted them to it. I suspect that there will be any number of current small business people and those about to go into business for themselves that will operate under the radar rather than comply with this unnecessary nuisance.

As a final point related to this topic, does anyone remember that the Cobb County commission quietly passed an increase in the business license fees last year? I never saw a word about it in the MDJ. I found out when I got my bill. And I thought that Republicans also supported no tax hikes because it hurt small businesses. My point is that the Democrats (I am not a Democrat) get bashed for tax hikes and increased regulation, but here are two egregious examples of Republicans talking out of both sides of their mouths.

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October 26, 2012

I whole heartedly agree with you. I operate a small business and the Cobb County Business License renewal is cumbersome and onerous. Every year when renewal comes around I have to get a letter from my accountant to verify my earnings. Since he is a for profit business this costs me extra money. Then I have to mail in the filled out form with my payment. I did note this year the fee has gone up.

Like you I just received my renewal form and was shocked at the new requirements. I have been a citizen by birth of this country for 68 years and have lived in Cobb County for 26 years. I have operated my business for the past ten years. What do I have to prove?

What I found interesting was included in my renewal packet was a pink envelope. I am still trying to figure out what I am suppose to do with it. Since the confusing instructions say that I cannot mail my ID via the mail. I must present it in person or email it. Maybe the county is supporting breast cancer awareness this month.

Lets hope the state legislature wakes up and removes this regulation. In hind sight I wish I never applied for my business license.

I agree many new small businesses will operate under the radar than deal these new regulations.
Oliver G. Halle
October 25, 2012
Fat Tony,

I wholeheartedly agree with you that Cobb County provides exceptional government services, especially its police and fire departments. I have written several commentaries on my blog about this and the A service I have gotten at the East Cobb Government Center. My three kids all got quality educations in the Cobb public schools.

I am not sure where your nit picking comment is coming from since I didn't disparage Cobb's services in this blog---or ever. I can only guess that you might have been cheated out of a good education, because it's obvious that you did not read my blog for content. If you reread it you will discover that my criticism is focused at unnecessary regulations ennacted by the General Assembly, some of which the counties have to carry out. Nothing complicated or nit picking about that.
Big Tony
October 24, 2012
Mr. Halle - I get nothing but grade A service from our government here in Cobb and Georgia. You like to nit pick don't you. Don't make your problem my problem.

Oliver G. Halle
October 24, 2012
Thank you both for your comments. First, I didn't mention the new driver's license requirements because that was imposed on us on the federal level. The professional and business license legislation were part of the Georgia immigration bill, so I thought it fair to start with our local Republicans. In particular I wanted to point out the very significant hypocrisies that go to the heart of Republican ideology, at least stated ideology. And second, to point out that we don't have to go to Washington to point fingers at unread legislation that was voted on. I am a lifelong Republican, but the Republican Party I belong to no longer exists. It is the party of Eisenhower, and Robert Gates was one of the last public servants who was an honored member.
Lib in Cobb
October 24, 2012
Oliver: The excesses in renewing your business license has also spilled over into the driver's licenses. In order to renew one's driver's license multiple forms of identification are necessary along with a personal appearance. Gone are the days of renewing through the mail or over the web. Just who are the Repukes attempting to protect? Smaller government, yup! Less government intrusion, yup! Who is kidding who?

Thank you for your wisdom.
B D Lane
October 24, 2012
I think your criticism is fair, Mr. Halle. I am a Republican, and I am partially voting for Mitt Romney in a couple of weeks because he wants to reform the overall tax code as you suggest.

However, it certainly sounds like the local law you point out here should be reformed as well.
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