More of John Leopold’s Big Government

For all of those apologists who still say John Leopold is a “small government conservative,” for the love of god explain this:

Rude cabbies may need a new gig if a law requiring them to be “courteous” passes the County Council.

A bill proposed by County Executive John R. Leopold would revamp taxicab regulation in Anne Arundel, pushing out solo operations in favor of centralized companies and imposing more restrictions on how cabbies can conduct business.

So naturally this brand of “small government conservatism” means unneeded, unnecessary, and unwarranted regulation of small businesses:

Tightening rules on a taxicab licenses is “really a consumer protection bill,” explained Alan Friedman, Mr. Leopold’s director of government relations. “We wanted to give people the feeling that there was structure, that if there was a problem, there was a company to handle it.”

County officials have received complaints about “cell phone cabs,” said Mr. Friedman, which he described as “basically one guy with a car and a cell phone.”

The one-cab operations float around the county, and some consumers allege the operations are unreliable and unreachable when complaints arise. By restricting taxi cab licenses to only companies that own at least three cabs, then requiring companies to operate 24 hours a day and set up a physical office in Anne Arundel, the county can reassure riders and let the12 companies in the county police their own drivers.

I am completely puzzled and perplexed as to why this is such an issue for County Government. With all of the problems that are going on in Anne Arundel County (school funding, a school board commission debacle, lower revenues, higher taxes and fees, permitting problems) I can’t imagine that there is a real need for such comprehensive taxi reform here in the county. I’m not saying that there should be no regulation of taxis in Anne Arundel County, but in what harm is there in sticking with the status quo? Why is it so bad that independent operations have an alternative business model? Why should independent taxi companies be forced by Leopold’s intrusive government to expand or go out of business? And what harm will be brought to consumers who may have their choice of cab companies reduced through this legislation.

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Maybe it’s just because I never use taxis, but this legislation seems silly, short-sighted, and unnecessary at best. Beyond that, sadly it is just another way for John Leopold to implement his big-government, high regulation, high fee “management” style at the detriment to the taxpayers and consumers of Anne Arundel County.


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