Friday, February 10, 2023

Bigger Pie Forum: Legislature Signals Mississippi is Closed For Business

 For all the talk of making Mississippi more business friendly, the state legislature seems to want to do the opposite.  Two examples stand out, though there are others.

One is the effort to forbid Tesla and other electric vehicle companies from opening their own, company-owned dealerships in Mississippi.  Existing auto dealers, who have franchise arrangements with manufacturers, want the government to prevent a business model that differs from their own.

Their reason?  Quite literally, “because we’ve done it this way for more than 50 years.”

Fifty-three years, to be exact.  In 1970, the legislature passed a law that allowed an auto manufacturer to sell its vehicles in the state only through franchise dealerships that are not owned by the manufacturer.  This was not unique to Mississippi, as most other states passed similar laws.

Along comes Tesla and others that have a different business model.  Their model is to sell direct to consumers without going through a franchise dealer.  The auto dealers want the state to use its “police power” (that is the term used in the law) to keep that business model from Mississippi.

It would be no different than telling Apple it is not allowed to open an Apple Store here because C-Spire and AT&T sell their products in the state.

Regardless of the product or company or industry (we’re no fans of the taxpayer subsidies for electric vehicles), and regardless of our fondness for local auto dealers, it’s bad policy for the state to choose winners and losers – literally, in this case – or to choose one business model over another.

Several other states have acknowledged this, and they are going in the opposite direction from our legislature, making allowances for other business models.  We know of no state other than ours that is going the way of further protectionism.  And if Tesla or other EV companies decide to build new manufacturing plants, it’s a pretty safe bet they won’t choose a state that has closed them out.

Keep Those Electric Rates High

The other shining example of hostility toward business – and consumers – is a move to prohibit any competition in building electric power lines in Mississippi.  After losing a bid in Texas to construct transmission lines, Entergy has been attempting to use the power of the state to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

They succeeded in getting a protectionist law passed in Texas, but that law was challenged in court.  That challenge has made it to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which also has jurisdiction over Mississippi.  The Fifth Circuit ruled that the law is unconstitutional.  Undeterred, Entergy is attempting to ensure that no one can build a transmission line in Mississippi unless it “will ultimately be owned by” Entergy, Mississippi Power Company, or Cooperative Energy.

Where transmission lines have been built over the past few years, competitive bidding has resulted in cost savings of tens, and in several cases, hundreds of millions of dollars for ratepayers.  That’s what competition generally does.

It’s no surprise Entergy and Mississippi Power want to build their own lines.  They make a guaranteed profit on the amount they spend on their infrastructure.  The more they spend, the more they can charge their customers, so there’s no incentive to find the lowest-cost means to generate and transmit electricity.  And if they can keep competition out, they will be free to keep raising rates for years to come.

Protectionism Abounds

These are just two examples of how our state leaders claim to be champions of free market principles but often act as enemies.  Our current laws are full of protectionism, from licensure boards that mimic cartels to Certificate of Need laws that limit access to health care and prevent competition that could lower health costs, and many more.  So many of our policies scream, “We don’t want your business here.”

Mississippi can’t be “open for business” when it shuts the door on competition.

Bigger Pie Forum authored and sponsored this post. 



Anonymous said...

Well, of course the upside to cutting out competition is that Entergy will have more to spend on elected officials.. lobbying. This really isn’t much different from CON laws that keep hospitals from having to compete for business. If you are in elective office I don’t know why you would shut down your gravy train. That just wouldn’t make sense?

Anonymous said...

Stop complainin', everybody knows Mississippi has the best legislature money
can buy. Jeez.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing conservative about Mississippi Republicans. Want a ridiculous 3rd example? A farmer who owns a couple of Jerseys and wants to sell fresh milk to his customers cannot, but a guy who owns some milking goats can. Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas, even NY and California - some 35ish States in total allow the sales of raw milk to consumers in some capacity. But no the good ol backwood boys, supposed free market conservatives in Mississippi don’t. Quit voting for these same clowns over and over and open up our MS economy.

Anonymous said...

Full blooded conservative here.

Also, full blooded sick of all politics.
Both sides are already purchased by special interests and lobbyists.

I don't get why any fellow peasant defends any of the clowns on either side.
Watching we unwashed masses feud internally on behalf of our preferred ass-hat is exhausting.

They don't care about us.

Anonymous said...

I'm not worried cause I was told once we do away with the state income tax we'll be able to stand toe to toe with Texas, Tennessee and Florida cause we're already very similar to them other than that.

Anonymous said...

9:14 is exactly right. And the root of most of the problems in this state, and the country for that matter, is lobbying, a/k/a legal bribery. We don’t have a republican vs democrat problem, we have a political class vs taxpayer problem.

Anonymous said...

If you ever have occasion to sit on the side of Interstate 10, 20, 55 or the northern head of 61, at or near a state line, watch for all the out of state plates representing companies and their employees moving to Mississippi. Thank God for Delbert and Gunn's nightime move to replace the state flag. And thanks to the NCAA and SEC for requiring that. If not for that, we'd not have this influx of industrial growth.

And according to Gerard Gibbert, and other fortune tellers, once we can eliminate that danged state income tax, the companies moving here will quadruple. We 'bout to put Texas, Florida and Tennessee in our rear view mirror, people!

Anonymous said...

What the Bigger Pie Forum is advocating here sounds commonsense and reasonable. Who could disagree with it?

But if you're a workaday prole of the lumpenproletariat who just wants to be left alone to work and enjoy time with his family, it's going to be some reasonable-sounding guys or girls in a coat and tie, members of some think tank or economic "forum" or some of our "leaders," who will administer the next f**king you're going to take, boy. Every. Damn. Time.

Anonymous said...

This country needs to reform lobbying and money in politics. It’s ridiculous. Both sides play the game. The citizens suffer. Elected officials become millionaires in matter of years now a days. All on a paltry public servant’s salary. This will be the downfall of our country as we know it. Not immigration or wokeness or any of the other bullshit distractions they sell to the public.

Anonymous said...

The state is run by feckless hillbillys , Jackson is run by irresponsible children. then you add in the Baptist church and you get "last" in everything.

good job Mississippi , good job ....

Anonymous said...

If I open a bakery, can I demand that no other baker attempt to compete in my area with the full heft of the state backing me?

Anonymous said...

Could we get a list of all the PAC and individual politco contributions by : Entergy, TVA, MPCo and all the rube REA's in this state to the legislators? Couldn't my monthly utility bill be less if my utility wasn't paying these fat cats campaign contributions?

Anonymous said...

Mississippi sticks it to the customers when it’s about utilities. From Grand Gulf bound to the backs of the ratepayers to the coal fired kempercounty power plant that runs on natural gas because of the lies sold to the PSC, the citizens get the shaft.

Screw Entergy and Mississippi power company. Put their ceos in prison for a decade or two to teach them a lesson.

Anonymous said...

Bigger Pie is absolutely right on these issues. This is RINO action at its finest (and borderline corruption). It's terrible for our state when business competition is eliminated. Let the free market prevail. The governor and legislature must stop picking winners and losers and stop using taxpayer dollars in the form of tax breaks and financial incentives to fund their most favored -- all while hamstringing so many of the small businesses that are the key components that drive an economy.
Oh, and Certificate of Need?? Don't even get me started on that nastiest pile of protectionist stink . . . .

Anonymous said...

"Could we get a list of all the PAC and individual politco contributions by : Entergy, TVA, MPCo and all the rube REA's in this state to the legislators?"
Sure you could, but will you? As Paul Pelosi's attacker said when ordered to drop the hammer by the Police, Ummmmm, Nope.

Anonymous said...

“If you ever have occasion to sit on the side of Interstate 10, 20, 55 or the northern head of 61, at or near a state line, watch for all the out of state plates”

That's what I do when I want to have a wild time. I get a cold cooler of water, a big bag of popcorn, and sit beside the interstate and look at licenses plates.

Who has ever heard of such shit?

Anonymous said...

There's at least one regular poster on this board that thinks the Baptist church is the front for the Illuminati in this state. Give it a break, dude, give it a break.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable a Republican legislature would entertain such a protectionist law. Sends a horrible signal to anyone looking to open a business in Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

Fat cat donors get protected while everyone buying a new car gets screwed. Sounds about right.

Anonymous said...

Tesla just invested $3.6 Billion in the open state of Nevada. Meanwhile the Senator leading the charge in the Senate (Daniel Sparks) has received at least $8,750 from The Dealers Association, Dealerships, & Lobbyist on his side for this issue according to Sec of State website. (I'm sure the number is much higher)

We're really going to stop potential economic growth because of a few campaign donations???

Anonymous said...

Commies have infiltrated the Mississippi Republican Party….

Hope the Governor, Lt. Governor, & Party Chairman stop this asap.

Other statewide leaders are missing low hanging fruit to campaign on.

Anonymous said...

Least business friendly state in the union.

Anonymous said...

Citizens United baby

Anonymous said...

So Apple may have to close the company store in Ridgeland Mall?

And Columbia?

And LulaLemon?

Anonymous said...

2:43 - You gotchur sarcasm-repellant-shield wound up too tight.

The post was sarcastic and symbolic yet offered as a means to parallel the truth. All this 'shit' (as you call it) we were promised resulted in all the imaginary vehicles you see rushing into this state, each representing a company or employee from out of state rushing to locate here.

Change the flag, hand out committee chairmanships to black democrats, get busy eliminating state income tax so the wealthy can prosper (more), embrace a little WOKE, ease off on CRT, get your teeth straightened and capped, knock the mud off your Sunday shoes.... Do It And They Will Come, we're told.

Invest in a five-gallon can of Malco popcorn. Enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Who owns the largest dealership in the State? And, once you do the research to that billionaire, ask yourself why our Republican leaders would EVER support protecting him, and undermining Musk? It just staggers the imagination that our leaders and their enablers allow this.

Anonymous said...

@10:45am Arkansas-based McLarty Automotive Group

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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