Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Friday, August 15, 2014

No Car Washes in Arlington

Teenagers washing automobiles to raise money for their sports teams and school clubs are a common sight during the summer months. But you won’t see any if you live in Arlington, Virginia, thanks to the latest environmentalist ban. Virginia’s Department of Environmental Services issued new rules for water runoff, and Arlington is now enforcing a ban on car wash fundraisers. Supposedly, washing cars can cause chlorinated water and soap to wash into local streams and end up in the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. Those are huge bodies of water, and neither is waste-free to begin with. Was the soap from a few volleyball team car washes really going to tip the scales? Kids who hold car wash fundraisers want to work to earn money, rather than asking for a handout from their parents or from taxpayers. That’s the kind of behavior the government should encourage, not prevent.

Coaches and teachers who run other extracurricular activities say they’re concerned students won’t be able to raise enough money without one of the most popular avenues of teenage fundraising. I’m wondering if Arlington’s taxpayers will end up stuck with a larger bill for their schools. A spokeswoman for Virginia’s Department of Environmental Services suggested that students would learn through having to come up with alternative fundraisers. But I think what these kids are really learning is that the government will shut down anything it doesn’t like. They’re learning that the left regards private enterprise and initiative with hostility.

This issue reminds me of the stories we’ve heard in recent years of children’s lemonade stands being shut down or fined. If we want to live in a country filled with entrepreneurs and innovation, our children need to be free to learn basic business skills—and that can’t happen if the government keeps throwing roadblocks at every attempt of kids to start a little business.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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