Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance
Thursday, July 28, 2011
IJ Challenges Atlanta's Street Vending Monopoly
A new lawsuit was filed today by The Institute for Justice (IJ) to challenge Atlanta's unconstitutional vending monopoly on behalf of two Atlanta street vendors (see video above and go here and here for full background information, excerpts appear below).
"Should the city of Atlanta be allowed to create a single street vending monopoly that forces existing vendors to start paying up to $20,000 in rent and fees every year? That is the question to be answered by a major lawsuit filed today by the Institute for Justice - a national civil liberties law firm - and two well-known Atlanta vending entrepreneurs: Larry Miller and Stanley Hambrick.
Practiced since ancient times, street vending is more popular than ever. The Economist magazine predicted that this year “some of the best food Americans eat may come from a food truck.” For generations, street vending has been a classic way for entrepreneurs to provide for themselves and their families while creating jobs and satisfying customer demands.
But two years ago, Atlanta handed over all public-property vending to a single company—the first program of its kind in the country. Now that company wants to throw Larry Miller and Stanley Hambrick out of the spots they have worked for over a decade to build kiosks that rent for almost $20,000 a year. If it succeeds, Larry and Stanley’s businesses will be destroyed.
To protect the economic liberty of all Georgians, Larry and Stanley have joined with the Institute for Justice to challenge Atlanta’s vending monopoly. This lawsuit, filed today in the Superior Court for Fulton County, Georgia, is the second case in the Institute’s National Street Vending Initiative. It argues that Atlanta lacks the power to grant an exclusive vending franchise and that its actions violate the Georgia constitution. A victory will not only free Atlanta’s vending community; it will make other cities think twice before entering into similarly anticompetitive arrangements."