Posts Tagged ‘regulation’

Raise a glass for freedom, not government control

Raise a glass for freedom, not government control

Our job at the Beacon Center is to empower Tennesseans to reclaim control of their lives, so that they can freely pursue the American Dream. All too often, government puts up barriers that make it hard for people to realize those dreams. We find those barriers and break them down, paving a clearer path to freedom and prosperity. Oftentimes, it’s easier to spot new barriers and stop them in their tracks before they are erected. This is one of those times.

A new bill in the state legislature (SB426-HB543) seeks to erect a barrier between brewers and wholesalers. Several industries, including much of the alcohol industry, has what’s called a “three-tiered system,” essentially preventing different stages of a product to be integrated under the same ownership. For example, a wine producer can’t also sell his own wine without first selling it to a middleman wholesaler. The bill in question seeks to impose this same separation of ownership on the beer industry. And it will do so under the guise of protecting craft brewers from the big guys.

Trust me, I’m not a “big guy” fan. When I graduated from college, I also graduated from the watered-down, mass-produced beers of the world. My local bartender will tell you that I’m exclusively a craft guy (when I’m not drinking scotch). Good People IPA is my beer of choice. So I am sensitive to the notion that we must protect our craft beer industry. But we can do that by demanding more access to craft beers—through our buying choices—not through additional laws and regulations.

While well intended, the proposed law has dire consequences. Under the bill, a craft brewer could not sell his business to a company that owns a beer wholesaler. So in an effort to “protect” the little guy, this proposal would tell the little guy who he can and cannot sell his business to. That doesn’t sound much like protection to me; it sounds like an affront to the American Dream.

The theory is that if the big guys like Budweiser, Miller, and Coors can serve as producer, distributor, and retailer, they can squash out their craft competition. But reality is that as the craft craze grows, we the consumers will force the big guys to sell us what we want to drink. All this proposal will do is make it harder for the craft guys to realize their fullest potential. It also sets a dangerous precedent that if you work hard, start your own business, and sweat and toil to grow it into a success, you may still have to get the government’s permission to sell it to a willing buyer. I just can’t get on board with that.

While the proponents of this legislation may frame it as a battle between craft brewers and the big beer industry, it’s really a battle between government control and freedom. I for one will be raising my glass—full of craft beer—to freedom.

-Justin Owen


Editor’s note: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that the proposed bill would limit ownership between retailers and brewers, and retailers and wholesalers. Such restrictions already exist in state law. The bill would restrict ownership between brewers and wholesalers.


February 20th, 2015 | Beacon Blog, Recent News

Baby, it’s Cold & Regulated Outside!

Baby, it’s Cold & Regulated Outside!

As John Stossel exposed not too long ago in a segment dedicated to regulation in America, it is becoming nearly impossible for us to make it through one day without breaking a law. Whether it’s a child’s unauthorized lemonade stand, a fisherman’s undocumented day’s catch, or a Good Samaritan cutting down Christmas trees for neighbors (yes, these are all against the law in many states)—it seems that government remains ever vigilant at snuffing out the next best thing and slapping a license requirement or regulation on it. Every party has its pooper, and the growth of bureaucracy means these populate rather frequently.

‘Tis the season for celebrating our greatest gifts in life, and for many families, the news of a pending birth is an especially joyous occasion. Thanks to innovative technologies, anxious parents can now detect pregnancies much earlier, prepare in advance for bringing home a son or daughter, and even see 3D images of their growing baby in the mother’s womb. Indeed, these sonograms have produced incredible pictures of children smiling and even yawning earlier during pregnancies and in ways that previous technologies could never capture. Understandably, these 3D sonograms are vastly popular. But hold your horses, say government officials, lest you get too attached before they become illegal.

“A new warning for pregnant women,” begins the news report. “The FDA is strongly discouraging 3- and 4-D ultrasounds as a way to create keepsake images and photos.” Why? Because “there is nothing regulating how long the machine is used for or for how many sessions take place.” Translation: our government “elves” dispatched from the Left Pole haven’t gotten there to sanction, tax, or limit its use. After all, government knows best, right? What would the big-money licensing or permit industries do without protection from six-year old lemonade entrepreneurs, enterprising hair-braiders, shampooers, or history-loving tour guides? Probably provide more market-driven services, for one thing.

Clearly, with 3- and 4-D ultrasounds, medical technologists have struck gold and government wants its cut. It is important to remember that these “warnings” are not to be taken for the altruistic public service announcements they may appear to be—at least without a critical examination of the issue.

-Lindsay Boyd

December 29th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News

An Idea a Day: A Roadmap to Freedom

An Idea a Day: A Roadmap to Freedom

Every other year, the Beacon Center publishes “An Idea a Day” for each remaining legislative day of the current General Assembly. This year’s publication offers a roadmap to freedom, providing 57 ideas for the second session of the 108th General Assembly. Click here to download the full roadmap, or scroll through the ideas below, broken down by category.


Repeal the Hall Income Tax on stocks and bonds, alleviating the burden on low-income retirees and inviting wealthy individuals to move into Tennessee to invest in job growth.
Contact Justin Owen at

Scale back corporate taxes on all businesses, which are per capita the highest of all bordering states.
Read “Corporate Welfare Infographic” at

Place a limit on the growth of local property taxes unless approved by voters via referendum.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at

Cut the Real Estate Transfer Tax by one-third, ending the unnecessary state purchasing of wetlands and forestland.
Read “2013 Tennessee Pork Report,” p. 9 at

Review and eliminate all taxes and fees that cost more to enforce than is collected in revenue therefrom.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at

Eliminate the cattle tax that funds the Beef Promotion Board campaign, which uses tax dollars to urge Tennesseans to eat more beef.
Read “2013 Tennessee Pork Report,” p. 6 at


Base the state Copeland Cap on population plus inflation growth, limiting government spending and allowing Tennesseans to keep more money in their pockets.
Watch Justin Owen’s Copeland Cap Testimony (46 minute mark) at

Make the Copeland Cap more stringent by requiring a supermajority vote of the legislature to “bust” the cap.
Watch Justin Owen’s Copeland Cap Testimony (46 minute mark) at

Enact a provision that will automatically return surplus revenue to taxpayers after topping off the rainy day fund.
Read “2013 Tennessee Pork Report,” p. 24 at

Establish an independent spending commission to recommend spending cuts to the governor and legislature.
Read “2013 Tennessee Pork Report,” p. 24 at

Require a waiting period of 72 hours between the time in which an appropriations or revenue-related bill is introduced and a vote is taken.
Read “Legislators’ Guide to the Issues,” p. 12 at

Get the government out of the golf course business by selling state-owned golf courses or leasing courses that operate at a loss.
Read “2013 Tennessee Pork Report,” p. 7 at

End the failed switchgrass-to-ethanol program that has cost taxpayers more than $60 million yet has failed to become commercially viable.
Read “2013 Tennessee Pork Report,” p. 17 at


Allow parents across Tennessee to take a portion of the funding already spent on their child and send their child to the school of their choice.
Read “The Choice is Ours” at

Grade all public and charter schools based on academic performance and learning gains with easy-to-understand A, B, C, D, or F grades.
Read “Legislators’ Guide to the Issues,” p. 25 at

Ensure that school districts meet the national standard for the percentage of spending that goes into the classroom, curbing out-of-control administrative costs.
Read “Following the Money” at

Create alternative teacher certification paths, encouraging successful business and community leaders to enter the teaching profession.
Read “Legislators’ Guide to the Issues,” p. 27 at

Refuse efforts by President Obama to expand Pre-Kindergarten, a costly program that has failed to provide long-term benefits to Tennessee children.
Read “Legislators’ Guide to the Issues,” p. 26 at

Remove roadblocks to online and blended learning opportunities that provide additional options for children of various backgrounds.
Read “Legislators’ Guide to the Issues,” p. 29 at


Refuse the unaffordable and immoral push to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.
Read “Medicaid Expansion Infographic” at

Allow Tennesseans to purchase health insurance from any state in the country.
Read “A Cure for What Ails Us” at

Repeal laws that favor employer-based insurance over individually-purchased insurance that has more portability, and urge Congress to do the same.
Read “A Cure for What Ails Us” at

Permit young Tennesseans to purchase more affordable “mandate light” health insurance plans.
Read “A Cure for What Ails Us” at

Provide state employees with a consumer-driven health insurance plan option with a health savings account in lieu of their current plan.
Contact Justin Owen at

Reform medical licensing and scope of practice laws to address doctor shortages and expand Tennesseans’ choices when seeking healthcare services.
Read “A Cure for What Ails Us” at

Repeal protectionist Certificate of Need laws that limit access to healthcare services.
Read “A Cure for What Ails Us” at

Property Rights

Prohibit the forced sale of property via eminent domain.
Read “Eminent Domain No Excuse for Property Abuse” at

Require approval of local legislative bodies before unelected and unaccountable agencies can take private property using eminent domain.
Read “Legislators’ Guide to the Issues,” p. 57 at

Treat regulations on private property as “takings” and provide property owners with compensation when regulations diminish the value of their property.
Read “Legislators’ Guide to the Issues,” p. 58 at

Give existing owners an option to receive equity stake in a redevelopment entity when their property is taken as part of a redevelopment plan.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at

Require government entities to follow foreclosure proceedings rather than use property condemnation in order to better protect property owners.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at

Permit a referendum of voters when their property is subject to annexation by a nearby city.
Contact Justin Owen at


Reduce the number of occupations requiring a license, currently at 111, which makes Tennessee one of the most heavily regulated states in the nation.
Read Justin Owen’s Economic Liberty Act testimony at

Enact an economic liberty act requiring the government to prove that all new occupational regulations directly impact the health, safety, and welfare of Tennesseans.
Read Justin Owen’s Economic Liberty Act testimony at

Eliminate titling acts that require Tennesseans to obtain government permission to use certain occupational titles.
Read Justin Owen’s Economic Liberty Act testimony at

Allow Tennesseans to purchase wine in grocery stores, eliminating the liquor industry’s monopoly over the product.
Read “Drunk with Power” at

Target methamphetamine production rather than impeding the purchase of cold medications by law-abiding citizens, and prohibit local governments from restricting such sales.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at

Prohibit unelected government regulatory boards from increasing occupational fees without approval by the legislature.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at

Eliminate the minimum wage and prohibit local “living wages” that make it more difficult for many Tennesseans to find gainful employment.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at

Prohibit local governments from imposing new mandates on businesses that are inconsistent with and more stringent than state law.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at

Government Reform

Reform asset forfeiture laws to eliminate any financial incentives for law enforcement to seize private property.
Watch “NC5 Investigates: Policing for Profit” at

Allow the private sector to assume responsibility for non-essential government services that could easily be handled outside of state government.
Contact Justin Owen at

Prohibit local governments from using taxpayer money to lobby the state or federal government.
Read “The Dangerous Cycle of Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying” at

Change the rules of the game so that the individual incentives of judges, lawyers, juries, and other legal actors motivate them to act in the larger social interest.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at

Enact reforms that punish the most violent criminals and provide a pathway back into society for rehabilitated offenders.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at

Amend the current policy that allows the Supreme Court to choose the Attorney General, thus removing the conflict of interest for selecting our state’s top lawyer.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at

Prohibit state and local governments from using tax dollars to fund failed experiments to provide high-speed Internet to the general public.
Read “We Need to Shine the Light on Electric Utilities” at

Enact a law that provides for stronger financial management systems in local governments.
Read “2013 Tennessee Pork Report,” p. 25 at


Refuse to force taxpayers to fund local mass transit projects with state taxpayer money.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at

Replace the current gasoline tax with a more responsible vehicle miles traveled tax, with protections in place to prevent privacy infringements, to fund transportation infrastructure.
Read “There’s More than One Way to Pave a Road” at

Allow private investments in infrastructure through public-private partnerships, thus increasing transportation funding and reducing the burdens on taxpayers.
Read “There’s More than One Way to Pave a Road” at

Convert existing HOV lanes to high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, allowing unaccompanied drivers to pay a fee to use the under-utilized lanes.
Read “Legislators’ Guide to the Issues,” p. 50 at


End corporate handouts to select businesses, which allow government to pick winners and losers.
Read “Corporate Welfare Infographic” at

End all special treatment of alternative energy that distorts market conditions and puts taxpayer money at risk.
Read “Legislators’ Guide to the Issues,” p. 47 at

Eliminate financial incentives to the film industry that provide no real benefit to Tennesseans and instead send taxpayer money to Hollywood producers.
Read “Corporate Welfare Infographic” at

Terminate the state’s Greenbelt Law that provides massive tax breaks to the wealthy while purporting to protect farmers.
Read “2013 Tennessee Pork Report,” p. 15 at

Eliminate the costly TNInvestco program that has failed to live up to its promises of substantial job creation despite a significant cost to taxpayers.
Read “2013 Tennessee Pork Report,” p. 5 at

December 3rd, 2013 | Feature, Policy