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Posted: December 15, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Banning free enterprise

Last week the Newton County Board of Commissioners voted to bar new home-based day care centers.

There were 14 day care owners who "won" the day care lottery.

I am sure the 14 present day care providers do a good job. My question is why should the BOC favor them over anyone else who wants to start a home-based day care center in Newton County?

There was a similar lottery for hair care businesses with 27 winners. That ban was to protect septic tanks, with the proviso that a permit is available, one assumes a protective one, to continue such a business with a septic tank. I don’t know how to describe a "protective" permit.

Many residents of Newton County are starting to feel an economic pinch that may last for some time. Enrollment in commercial day care centers has been falling off due to the economic downturn. It isn’t hard to see parents seeking less costly child care options and some good neighbors providing a needed service. The same can be said for hair care businesses.

Home-based day care for children and hair care has been a tradition in small towns for as long as I can remember. I don’t think my mother-in-law ever went to a commercial hair salon. My wife and I never used commercial day care. I have nothing against the commercial versions of those businesses but the personal relations are different with a home-based business.

The right to start a small home business has always been part of the free enterprise system. Some will succeed, others won’t. But they all deserve the chance to try. And the citizens of Newton County have a right to patronize them. The BOC should reverse this decision at its next meeting.

 

Patrick Durusau is a local resident of Covington. His column regularly appears on Fridays.

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