The Missouri mover monopoly
Author: Timothy Sandefur
This morning, I argued against the government’s attempt to throw out Michael Munie’s challenge to Missouri’s protectionist licensing scheme. The court will make a decision on the motion to dismiss sometime soon, possibly before the end of the year. Meanwhile, the Missouri Record has published my editorial on the case. Excerpt:
Starting your own business isn’t for the faint of heart—you have to arrange financing, hire staff, advertise, and a thousand other complicated details. So imagine putting in all that hard work, only to learn that the government won’t let you open your doors unless you first get permission from all your existing competitors.
Bizarre as it might seem, that’s just the law that St. Louis entrepreneur Michael Munie ran into when he asked the state’s Department of Transportation for a permit to operate a statewide moving company. Under a seventy-year old law, MoDOT cannot issue a permit without first notifying the existing moving companies and giving them the chance to object. When they object—and of course, they always do—any entrepreneur who wants to start a new moving company must go to a hearing and prove to a group of bureaucrats that there’s a “public need” for a new moving company.