Bills Introduced to Remove Government Roadblocks for Home Businesses

By Matthew Nicaud
January 28, 2022

The United States has seen a notable increase in home-based businesses in recent years. However, despite their potential to grow incomes and expand opportunities, many local regulations have hamstrung these businesses. The Mississippi Senate and House both have bills introduced to address these issues, thanks to the initiative of Senator Daniel Sparks and Representative Jansen Owen.

According to 2016 pre-pandemic data from the Small Business Administration, approximately 50 percent of all small businesses are home-based. In the wake of greater familiarity with working from home brought on by the pandemic, in conjunction with many starting their own businesses, the evidence suggests that these numbers have only increased.

As people harness the power of new technologies and leverage opportunities for growth, small business owners have been able to build home businesses that can provide supplemental or even primary income. In many cases, home businesses eventually expand and grow to full-scale operations with offices, warehouses, and dozens of employees.

In addition to the immediate benefits for small businesses, many of these small businesses eventually become mid-sized companies or even multi-billion dollar corporations. Amazon, Hobby Lobby, Microsoft, Google, Dell, Disney, and a host of other companies started out small in garages, houses, apartments, and dorm rooms.  

Despite all of the potential behind home-based businesses, the need for a friendly regulatory environment is stronger than ever before. A study conducted by the Center for Growth and Opportunity at the Utah State University found that many cities and local governments have zoning laws, permit fees, and a tangle of other regulations that make launching a home-based startup all the more difficult.

Such regulations have included local ordinances against home-based businesses having employees, bans on customers coming to the home, and commercial building requirements. According to another report on the issue from the Cato Institute, 18 states have passed laws reducing such burdens on home-based businesses. Such laws have helped home-based business models ranging from music lessons to cottage food sales.

The bills in the legislature would accomplish such protections in Mississippi. Senator Daniel Sparks' Home Business Relief Act and Representative Jansen Owen's Home-based Opportunity Freedom Act would both explicitly establish that arbitrary fees and regulations cannot single out home-based businesses.

It's time for Mississippi to step up to the plate and enact policies to protect home-based businesses from excessive local regulations. It should not be a crime or a privilege to practice entrepreneurship in your home. This legislation would ensure that Mississippians are protected from government intrusion as they pursue opportunities through home-based businesses.

The Mississippi Center for Public Policy approves of this legislation and will continue to update you as the 2022 Mississippi Legislative Session continues, and you can keep up with measures by watching our Legislative Tracker.

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