Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fighting Milwaukee's Taxi Cartel

Mark Meranta of the Institute for Justice emails to report:

This morning, IJ launched a huge economic liberty lawsuit that provides a textbook case of protectionism and regulatory capture. Currently, Milwaukee allows only 321 taxicabs on its streets—almost half of which are owned by Milwaukee County Supervisor Joe Sanfelippo.
That is about one cab for every 1,850 residents, one of the highest ratios in the country. This cap on taxi permits has sent permit costs skyrocketing, from $85 to $150,000—putting the dream of owning a taxi business out of most people’s reach.
Get a load of this quote from Sanfelippo as reported by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
One of the biggest permit holders is Michael Sanfelippo, who controls 162 permits. He says that when Milwaukee had more permits, no one could make a decent living and the quality of cabs and service suffered.

"This is not a cab town," he said.

Sanfelippo, who also operates American United, a dispatching service for cabs, scoffed at the notion that the permits would command $150,000.

"I think the last couple I bought were maybe $80,000," he said.


  1. A wise man once said to me long ago....
    "Only criminals, fools, and brats live above the Mason-Dixon"

  2. Here in, supposedly free, Hong Kong a taxi license costs between 4 and 5 millon HKD, which is around 500 000 - 650 000 USD.