Wednesday, April 20, 2011

IJ Takes on the High-End Limo Cartel in Nashville

From the Institute for Justice: "Until 2010, sedan and independent limo services were an affordable alternative to taxicabs in the Music City. A trip to the airport only cost $25. But in June 2010, the Metropolitan County Council passed a series of anti-competitive regulations requested by the Tennessee Livery Association - a trade group formed by expensive limousine companies. These regulations force sedan and independent limo companies to increase their fares to $45 minimum.

The regulations also prohibit limo and sedan companies from using leased vehicles, require them to dispatch only from their place of business, require them to wait a minimum of 15 minutes before picking up a customer and forbid them from parking or waiting for customers at hotels or bars. And, in January 2012, companies will have to take all vehicles off the road if they are more than 7 years old for a sedan or SUV or more than 10 years old for a limousine.

These regulations have nothing to do with public safety. Nashville is stooping to economic protectionism to put affordable car services out of business in favor of more expensive services that happen to have more political power. Many Nashville residents who regularly use limos and sedans will be forced to spend twice as much money for exactly the same service and hard-working sedan drivers will be driven out of business.

The Institute for Justice teamed up with three Nashville entrepreneurs and will file a federal lawsuit today in the U.S District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee to vindicate the right of Nashville's limo and sedan operators to earn an honest living free from excessive government regulation."

MP: This reminds me of something I read recently on Seth Godin's blog:

"Companies that operate in a free market generally work as hard as they can to make that market not free. The free market is a great idea, which is why we need to be careful when market incumbents lobby to make it un-free."

Thanks again to the Institute for Justice for its ongoing efforts to battle economic protectionism and challenge market incumbents, who are always looking for ways to use the political process to thwart competition, raise prices and make the free market less free.


At 4/20/2011 9:24 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

one more strong reason to take this sort of regulatory power away from governments.

so long as government can influence business outcomes in this way, business will influence government to do so in for their own profit and to the detriment of freedom and consumer welfare.

this is usually wrapped up in the guise of "safety".

At 4/20/2011 10:39 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Why Vote? Puppy-Mill Law Latest In String Overturned By Missouri Senate

If Lawmakers Are Overturning State-Wide Voter Approved Laws Some Are Asking, "Why Vote?"

The Missouri state Senate's vote to overturn the voter-approved referendum controlling puppy mills is just the latest in a series of legislative votes overturning measures approved by voters state-wide.

At 4/20/2011 10:50 AM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

Excellent post by Dr. Perry.

Routinely across state and local governments, it is the business establishment that wants to regulate, tax, impose fees etc--but on competitors.

Here in Los Angeles, I have been e-mailing the City of Los Angeles Airport Commission to allow push-cart food vendors our airport, to increase competition (remember, it is somewhat a captive audience). Now the food vendors are selected by a political process. The established restaurants in the airport want no part of competing with push-cart food vendors.

At 4/20/2011 10:57 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

"The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit concluded that a legislative body is within their power to overturn a voter referendum.

The Second Circuit was unmoved by those challenging the Councils self serving vote to extend their own term limits in contrast to multiple referendums.

We are not persuaded by these efforts. At bottom, plaintiffs challenge New York’s equal treatment of law enacted by referendum and law enacted by a legislative body. Such a scheme, however, does not run afoul of the First Amendment. Any chilling of plaintiffs’ First Amendment activity is self-imposed and thus “incidental and constitutionally insignificant.”

A related State Court action, cited by the Second Circuit buttresses the notion that the Court will not interfere in the legislative process as this would be an undue interference by one branch of government with another…

Even NYC’s own Conflict of Interest Board concluded that the City Council was within ethical bounds to legislatively discard two voter referendums.

A vote of yes here does not have any desired effect as the peoples voice can be usurped by those elected to represent them. "

Comment on NYC campign finance board voters guide.

At 4/20/2011 3:51 PM, Blogger morganovich said...


i'm not sure i see your point here.

you can argue that a legislature that overturns a referendum is not representing the people well and vote them out of office, but the ability of the current lawmaking body to overturn prior law is pretty much the cornerstone of democracy.

the next senate can change of revoke laws passed by this one. this is as it should and must be.

there is nothing special about laws passed by referendum. they are simply laws like any other.

At 4/21/2011 12:05 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

one more strong reason to take this sort of regulatory power away from governments.


Well if you cannot take this power away by referendum, and the legislature can always overturn, then how do you take the power away?

You can vote new people in, but they will still have the same power.

One ould think that a referendum would be a powerful message to the representaives, but apparently not. They are not afraid of the ballot.

And why should they be when people think their vote makes no difference?

If Benjamin is right, and it is the (Republican, conservative) buiness interests that create such laws, then there would seem to be a disconnect (dishonesty) between what they say and what they do.

Just as there is a disconnect between saying we should take this power away, and saying the government can always put it back.

Policies need to be revisited, sure enough. So should a referendum have a reverse sunset, like five years, ore require a supermajority to overturn it?

Look at the situation in Michigan. the governor successfullypassed a bill that makes it easier for the state to declare a town incompetent. The state can appoint an overseer to run a town and even fire the municipal representatives.

Is this less intrusive government?

At 4/21/2011 3:30 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"this is usually wrapped up in the guise of "safety"."

That, and the pretense that without regulation, the streets would soon be awash in livery vehicles, as if the market didn't already provide an excellent limit to this type business.

At 4/21/2011 6:35 AM, Blogger cluemeister said...

We went to Vegas a few years ago and Vegas has a lot of minivan taxis. In the back bench seat, a block was installed in the center to prevent someone from sitting there. I asked why it was there and was told by the cab driver that they are restricted to carrying fewer passengers than the van can handle so they don't cut into the limo business.

What a joke.

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