Can the Government Make Entrepreneurs Do Useless Things For No Reason?
Verlin Stoll is a 27-year-old entrepreneurial dynamo who owns Crescent Tide funeral home in Saint Paul, Minn. Verlin has built a successful business because he offers low-cost funerals while providing high-quality service. His business is also one of the only funeral homes that benefits low-income families who cannot afford the high prices of the big funeral-home companies. Verlin wants to expand his business, hire new employees and continue to offer the lowest prices in the Twin Cities, but Minnesota refuses to let Verlin build a second funeral home unless he builds a $30,000 embalming room that he will never use. Minnesota's law is irrational. Embalming is never required just because someone passes away and the state does not even require funeral homes to do their own embalming. In fact, it is perfectly legal to outsource embalming to a third-party embalmer. Minnesota's largest funeral chain has 17 locations with 17 embalming rooms, but actually uses only one of those rooms. Why is Minnesota forcing Verlin to waste $30,000 on a useless embalming room as a condition of expanding his thriving business? So that the big, full-amenity funeral-home businesses can benefit from a law that drives up prices for consumers and operating expenses for competitors such as Verlin.
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