Thursday, June 28, 2007

W.S.S.R. Revisited

It has come to my attention that the plight of our civic minded gas station owner that was discussed here, has once again made the news.

MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin gas station owner who claims state regulators forced him to stop giving discounts on fuel to senior citizens filed a lawsuit Tuesday, saying a law requiring retailers to sell gas above cost is unconstitutional.

Raj Bhandari argues in the lawsuit that Wisconsin's minimum markup law violates the equal protection clause of the state constitution because retailers who sell gasoline — and few other products — are barred from selling any item below cost.

Bhandari, who owns Center City BP in Merrill, Wis., about 150 miles north of Madison, made headlines earlier this year after he stopped offering discounts of 2 cents per gallon to senior citizens and 3 cents per gallon for donors to a youth hockey league.

He did so after being warned by state regulators that such programs may violate the minimum markup law, formally known as the Unfair Sales Act.

The full text of the article is here.

The law firm representing him is doing it pro bono, (holy cow and bully for them). I sincerely hope he wins. From what I have read and heard in various interviews, this law was passed in the 1930s in an attempt to keep Standard Oil on top of the heap. I think it has outlived its usefulness.

I have found a new quote from Thomas Jefferson that I throw out as much as possible and I think I will include it here.

A government that is large enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take away everything you have.



KCSteve said...

I can see the argument for the law - it keeps the 'big boys' from driving independents out of business, but I'm pretty sure there are other laws that cover that situation while still allowing for discounts and specials.

Rorschach said...

"A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats."
Benjamin Franklin
"And whether you're an honest man, or whether you're a thief,Depends on whose solicitor has given me my brief."
Benjamin Franklin