Imposing Regulations on the Recreational Vehicle Industry

With the introduction of S.771, the General Assembly is once again resorting to excessive industry regulation in order to “protect the public health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the State” and to “maintain competition.” These words, positioned at the very beginning of the bill, represent the economic philosophies that have plagued our state since the glory days of the 1980s, during which South Carolina’s economic growth rate climbed to 2.2% and ranked 15th nationally. Coincidentally, the state’s “economic freedom ranking” during the 1980s rose from 25th to 9th nationally. The economic freedom experienced by the state, followed by unprecedented economic growth, led to higher per capital incomes; improved health care; greater life expectancy; lower rates of divorce and crime; higher levels of education; and higher levels of job satisfaction. Since 2000, South Carolina’s economic growth rate has remained at or below 1.0% and our economic freedom ranking has fallen back to 25th.

The correlation between economic freedom and economic growth is indisputable. This relationship suggests why bills like S.771 will not “protect the public health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the State” and will not “maintain competition.” This bill seeks to regulate the relationship between recreational vehicle manufacturers, distributors, and dealers of recreational vehicles. The bill would require anyone engaging in business as a recreational vehicle dealer to obtain a license good for 12 months for a fee of $50. The bill also lists requirements on the physical place of business, stating that businesses eligible to obtain a license must have at least 96 square feet of floor space and a permanent sign displayed with letters at least 6 inches in height. Ask yourself, how do these two regulations protect my health and safety and promote healthy competition? In fact, they do not.

Our elected officials are trying to navigate the state’s economy. It is downright troubling that, in light of this reality, South Carolina remains at or near the bottom of nearly every relevant economic ranking.

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