Larry Ribstein has some anecdotes of how California legislators and regulators are driving business out of the state.
A couple of weeks ago, there was a rather disturbing story on that topic in The Economist:
The Dashtakis are the kind of immigrants who give California its vibrancy. Ms Dashtaki’s father brought with him a tradition from the old country: the secret of making fantastically good yogurt, the sort that has foodies fighting one another as they throng California’s farmers’ markets. So Ms Dashtaki, spotting a marketing opportunity in her father’s magnificent facial hair, called their little venture “The White Moustache” and prepared to become that all-American immigrant archetype: the entrepreneur.
Alas, after three months of operating (for about $300 in revenues a week, and no profit at all), she encountered that other American tradition, red tape (after the red bands that used to hold bundles of bureaucratic papers together in the old days). For although she had spent a year getting the required permits from Orange County, she had, it turned out, yet to make the acquaintance of the “milk and dairy food safety branch” of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). On a Saturday morning in March, Ms Dashtaki got a call and was told to shut down or risk prosecution. ...
Ms Dashtaki and her father say their yogurt is safe. It always has been, both in Iran and in America. Nonetheless, she was eager to demonstrate the safety of her process and to comply with all regulations. Hence her surprise when she researched just what those regulations said.
For a start, they date back to 1947. When she pointed out to Stephen Beam, the head of the CDFA’s Milk and Dairy Food Safety Branch, that the rules might be somewhat out of date, Mr Beam replied that the rules have been “amended many times in multiple areas during the past 60-plus years”. But when Ms Dashtaki researched those modifications, they turned out to concern only frozen or “soft-serve” yogurt, not the regular sort, and they still made no allowance at all for yogurt made from pasteurised milk. ...
Further complications ensue, of course, the upshot of which is that "Ms Dashtaki is pondering whether to move to another state, one whose rules allow for artisanal products."
Memo to Mr Beam:
“If the law supposes that [Ms Dashtaki can't get a permit to make her yogurt],” … “the law is an ass—an idiot."
And so are you.