Sunday, April 29, 2012

The audacity to charge a lower price

Irrational municipal laws pull wool over our eyes 
by Richard J. Grant, The Tennessean, April 29, 2012

City laws to regulate private transportation services and to enforce price fixing are an example of unnecessary laws that lead to even worse government intrusions.

Agencies looking for reasons to exist love regulations such as the ordinance passed in Nashville two years ago that requires limousine operators to charge their customers a minimum price of $45 per trip. Now inspectors from Nashville's Metropolitan Transportation Licensing Commission (MTLC) have an excuse for running sting operations to catch those limousine operators that have the audacity to charge their customers lower prices. (link)
I am pleased to see Mr. Grant editorialize on this issue. It has been very frustrating to me that in June 2010 when the limo price fixing bill was passed that not a single council member objected. Even the outspoken self-indentified conservatives in the Council either supported the bill or allowed it to slip through unnoticed.  Since that time, there has been an attempt to repeal the bill. The effort was led by Council Member Davette Blalock.  Unfortunately, knowing she did not have the votes to pass it, she indefinitely deferred  her bill. A head count prior to the vote indicated the vote would have been close but  would have failed, so almost, but not quit half, of the Council were willing to undo the price fixing they or their predecessor had supported in the previous council.

It is a shame that, that vote did not take place.  The only member of the Council on record as opposing price-fixing is Davette Blalock.  I would like to know who supports markets and free enterprise and who supports protecting the well-connected from competition.  It really is that simple. I would hope that Blalock would revive her bill and force the council to take a stand.

I appreciate the Tennessean's coverage of this issue. I have reported on this issue extensively in this blog. Metro's price fixing is being challenged in Federal Court and very well may be ruled unconstitutional. To read about the court case, to read the court opinion, to read the George Will editorial on the issue, the Huffington Post coverage, see video, learn more about how the Metro Transportation Licensing Commission conspires to protect the established firms from competition  and to be brought up to date on how the TLC inspectors have been impersonating police officers and harassing and intimidating those service providers with the audacity to try to compete with the well-established, well-connected transportation companies, follow this link

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