The Libertarian Party of Collier County announced today, May 27, 2015, their support of local business’ right to use sign holders to advertise their businesses. Collier County is growing due to the services and goods provided to everyone by small, family owned businesses that often times have little or no visibility. Small businesses often settle for less than desirable locations without easy access in an effort to keep down costs of doing business. They rely on sign holders for their ability to let the public know about their sales and services.
The local political party stated in an email, “Removing this advertising option, results in eliminating jobs from the local economy and hurts small business that have few other options. Many of these sign waving jobs are held by those without anywhere else to turn and it has served the community well by providing market-based alternatives for those in need.”
The county affiliate to the Libertarian Party of Florida went on to state, “As a county that prides itself on being business friendly, why do we continue to regulate our small businesses into oblivion, while rewarding privileged, chosen companies with huge taxpayer-funded grants and discounted rent on county land? That is the definition of cronyism: Government picking winners and losers through special favors and burdensome regulations. If the County truly wants to reduce the use of sign wavers then it should consider an alternative, limited government approach: relax current codes to allow businesses more leeway for traditional signage.”
There is also the issue of free speech. The Libertarian Party of Collier County believes strongly in the protection of speech as guaranteed by both the Constitution of the United States and the State of Florida. Our right of freedom of speech does not only apply to political, religious, or controversial speech but also to what is known as commercial speech. The First Amendment protects the right of business owners to use signs to communicate with the public. The government simply cannot arbitrarily restrict speech that it doesn’t like.
It is irresponsible to leave the fate of local businesses and citizens up to the arbitrary whim of local bureaucrats. The Libertarian Party of Collier County has called on the Collier County Board of County Commissioners and Collier County Code Enforcement to immediately cease these enforcement actions against local businesses and to develop a more responsible policy in line with the principles of individual rights, economic freedom, and limited government for the benefit of our entire county.