If you think there are limitations imposed by the state through its legislature passing laws that punish business, you’re right. But factor in the harassment of fees and regulations on the local level too. Many of these regulations don’t show up until one of the regulator’s bureaucrats happens to find you by accident, as happened to us at Florence Lake.
We have a diesel generator that started to blow clouds of white smoke. A fisherman happened to notice the smoke. Turns out the fisherman worked for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. Why was the generator smoking? Turns out the repairman who worked on the generator installed the wrong fuel injectors. While the fisherman was snooping around, he discovered our 1,000 gallon fuel tanks, one for gasoline, the other for diesel. He noticed that the gas tank didn’t have a vapor recovery device installed. We were in non compliance and subject to fines. We convinced the bureaucrat that we were unaware of our sin, and he waived the fine, but insisted that we install the necessary equipment. We contacted a company in Fresno that does the work, and they installed the equipment. The man who drives the gasoline truck up to our location to keep the tank filled told us that he can’t connect to the vapor recovery unit and that we wasted our money. Oh well, at least we’re in compliance with the law.
That’s the key: Compliance with the law. Not effectiveness, just compliance. But it goes beyond that. We now must have the equipment on the tank, which is not usable, tested periodically (we haven’t been told what the period is). If we don’t? To quote from the letter from the Air Pollution Control District, “…failure to conduct the test(s), within 30 days of the date indicated above, will result in legal action, including monetary fines.” The “date indicated above” is prior to the time we can get into Florence Lake because of snow.
We have to hire a qualified company to conduct the unnecessary tests and pay them for those unnecessary tests. Unfortunately, we are SIX HOURS ROUND TRIP from the tester’s place of business. That time has to be paid for. If the tester’s hourly rate is $75, we get to pay $600 just to get him here, plus the time the test takes, which is charged at the rate of a minimum of one hour. The test takes five minutes.
There’s more. The County of Fresno Department of Public Health also has its own scam. In order to run a store at Florence Lake we have to get it inspected yearly by a highly trained health expert. The inspection usually takes five minutes. That costs $344.00. But the State of California would like a piece of that action, too. So they add on a fee called “State oversight surcharge” of $24.00. Then they toss on a Motor Vehicle Fuel Above Ground Storage Tank fee of $72.00 (this is in addition to the Air Pollution District’s fee), and for good measure a “Hazardous waste generator (CESQG)” fee of $96.00. Total: $536.00.
At least travel time is included. For now. For tomorrow, who knows?
The above examples are only a tiny bit of the harassment leveled at anyone in business in this state. Other states will probably emulate California to the point where nobody will want to live and conduct business anywhere. Where do we go? Mexico? Canada? The moon? You tell me.
One more thing. A few years back the State of California decided that every store that sells tobacco should pay a fee of $100 for the privilege. We didn’t. They must have made millions on that one. I can imagine any number of new fees that could be imposed. How about a fee to make change for cash payments? A fee to take credit cards? A fee to have a sign that says OPEN. Or a fee to have a door to the business. A fee to use outdoor state-owned air in the business.
A fee to breathe.
Don’t get me started.