Steven Greenhut: Hypocritical Contractors Behind Intrusive New Law


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California employers often complain about excessive regulations, unannounced visits to job sites by inspectors and large fines for small infractions, but the state's contracting industry successfully lobbied the legislature to pass a punitive bill to crack down on its lower-cost competition. Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that gives the Contractors State License Board broader power to investigate job sites, and imposes hefty new fines on disobedient handymen. Steven Greenhut writes that he understands the licensed contractors' frustration given how hard it is to compete with those who have a lower cost structure. But by lobbying for new rules on others rather than for less red tape for everyone, they have lost any right to seriously complain about any additional regulations future legislatures impose on them.


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  1. Yo, fuck those contractors. I really hate this shit. Carpentry and light construction has been an area where it was fairly easy for a self employed individual to start a business and make decent money without a ton of regulation or overhead. And now that is getting all fucked up in a lot of states.

  2. You need to fill out the right forms to do anything anymore.

  3. Market failure!

  4. I have a brilliant idea: Occupational Licensing for Regulators.

    Let’s mandate that all people desirous of jobs as regulatory inspectors first pass an extensive training course on how not to be a petty asshole and how to treat all businesses equally, instead of just harassing the ones you don’t like.

    They will then be tested on how well the understand this, and anyone who doesn’t get it doesn’t get a license to practice regulation.

    1. I’d amend that to anyone who doesn’t understand this gets a choice between public flogging and exile.

  5. I suppose it goes without saying that the Contractors State License Board must be armed to the teeth in order to carry out its investigations, what with all of the menacing tools on a job site?

  6. Hypocritical Contractors Behind Intrusive New Law: Red tape is driving some workers underground, so already-licensed workers are calling for even more red tape.

    1. Link for missing “View this article” link.

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