Why aren't American starting businesses at the same rates as in the past? Over-regulation is a big reason.

Seven and eight-year-old sisters Andria and Zoey have had an opportunity to learn about regulation early on: the sisters set up a lemonade shop to raise money for a Father’s Day gift. The sisters were on their way to achieving their goal when they were visited by the local authorities who told them to desist. They were breaking the law by selling lemonade and kettle corn without a peddler’s permit.

To be compliant, the sisters closed up shop and mom took them to City Hall to secure the permit.

Once there, they learned that to get the peddler’s permit they needed a license from the county health department. By that point they just gave up.

Realizing that a for-profit won’t fly in their Texas neighborhood the girls have turned their business into a nonprofit model and are now just collecting donations.

Andria and Zoey committed the crime of being entrepreneurs. Their motive: trying to raise $105 for gift  tickets to a local water park. Those little criminals! (Note my sarcasm)

Fortunately, their wish was fulfilled once neighbors and local businesses caught wind of their enterprise this week. Splash Kingdom and Six Flags donated tickets to their parks and other businesses and individuals have donated to the girls' cause. But the message is still clear: entrepreneurship is a no no.

The Washington Examiner has more:

“The girls are always into making their own money,” said their mother, Sandi Evans.

“We had kettle corn and lemonade,” Zoey explained. “The lemonade was for 50 cents and the kettle corn was a dollar, but if you got both it was a dollar.”

She and her sister had been open for business about an hour Monday and had made more than $25 when police showed up.

“A code enforcement officer and the chief, she called me to the side and said we needed a permit,” Ms. Evans recalled.

Texas House Bill 970 requires an inspection and permit for the sale of food that requires time or temperature control to prevent spoilage, ABC reported.

Police Chief Clyde Carter explained, “We have to follow by the state health guidelines. They have to have a permit if they’re going to do the lemonade stands.”

Overton City Manager Charles Cunningham said selling lemonade at a stand is illegal, according to state law.

“This is not a city ordinance, but a state law that we must enforce,” he told the Tyler Morning Telegraph. “We are not out looking for people selling lemonade, but in this case, the police chief was driving around and saw them in the road and stopped due to safety concerns.”

The Green sisters said they plan to take advantage of a loophole and set up their lemonade stand again this Saturday, only they’ll be giving their treats away for free and accept donations.

Lemonade stands have a history of being the first business for kids – teaching them skills like marketing, operations, business development, and accounting and values like responsibility, integrity, hard work, and perseverance. Instead of giving a child money for a new toy, parents used to send their kids to curb with a table, cups, and a sweet beverage for sale.

Not any more. Our country, built on the entrepreneurial spirit, has yielded to government regulators who only value the regulations that they create and perpetuate to make starting a business extremely difficult and costly.

Interestingly, this episode comes just a month after Lemonade Day, a day dedicated to teaching kids about entrepreneurship by the Texas organization Prepared 4 Life. Lemonade Day unites kids across the nation to teach them how to start, own, and operate their own business through a lemonade stand.  Kids spend a month learning the step-by-step process of starting a business. Then they open their business. As founder. Michael Holthouse, notes, “It is important that we teach future generations the importance of responsible business practices and instill the entrepreneurial spirit at a young age – an age that allows them to have hope and vision to excel in the future."

It’s sad that Texas, the home of a movement to keep the lemonade stand alive and well, is also home to local regulators whose aim appears to be to shut down and squelch entrepreneurship among kids. Maybe the Green sisters can get in touch with the founders of Lemonade Day to see how they can be the face for this worthy program. Officials need to get a clue.