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Celebrating Independence Day has always been a thrilling event for me. Family, backyard barbeques, and the best yet, fireworks. Growing up we had the luxury of a car that could take us to Hudson, WI for the purpose of buying fire crackers, bottle rockets, and other non-ground effect pyro-technics. I know not many in Minnesota had the benefit of a motor vehicle to get what the law considers contraband, but strangely enough, there were many in Burnsville who did. But all satire aside, I have always found this law to be erroneous and non-competitive for Minnesotan businesses.
“Much as I would like to reward their efforts and to satisfy the many Minnesotans who want greater latitude to buy and use fireworks legally in our state, I cannot do so,” Governor Dayton wrote. “Most Minnesotans are responsible enough to ignite and explode those inherently dangerous devices properly and safely. Unfortunately, some are not.”
Governor Dayton does not believe you are responsible for your own life and you need to be protected from yourself. When the Government gets involved with “keeping us safe from ourselves” the list of things that are off limit is endless and we get Michael Bloomberg type nanny laws, such as a ban on large capacity sodas.
Speaking with a local franchise owner of several fireworks tents, I asked him what the effect of the legalization would have had for his small business and others, “When Michigan legalized aerial fireworks their revenue almost doubled.” While I could not confirm numbers, I did discover that locations in Michigan were opened, most by local small business owners, many occupying previously vacant permanent buildings, and some resulting in year-round locations and jobs. Whether the location was seasonal or year-round, all of these sites hired local people to staff them. The employees in turn spent the money they earned in their local communities.
While the local small business owners who operated these locations obviously benefited directly, there were other industries that saw sales growth from the legalization of fireworks as well. Rental companies providing tents and generators, property owners and landlords who leased space, security companies, and construction contractors were just some of the other Michigan small businesses that benefited.
Safety and personal responsibility should be in the forefront of our minds. While fireworks can be unsafe if used improperly, some tips the firework franchise owner gave can alleviate some of the risk:
- Always read and follow the directions carefully
- Only ignite fireworks outside in a well-cleared area
- Have a responsible adult supervise all fireworks activities
- Light fireworks one item at a time
- Have a bucket of water available to dispose of used fireworks
Just like laws making certain drugs illegal and making them operate in black/grey markets, we have aerial fireworks making their way across the border every day. Legalization will make Minnesota businesses more competitive, ending the practice of citizens spending money in, and bringing back types of fireworks from Wisconsin and North Dakota.
LPMN Executive Committee Member