2018 Bills

HB 271: Barriers to Government Competing with Private Businesses

This bill was not voted on in the House or Senate.

Libertas Institute supports this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it is aligned with our principles and merits support.

Golf courses, theaters, pools, recreation centers—the list of government enterprises that can be built for the sake of recreation and entertainment goes on and on. The problem is that each of these are examples of government unfairly competing against the private market, using taxpayer dollars, in order to provide non-essential services to the public.

Government should maintain a level playing field for private industry—not compete with it. State, county, and city governments need to find ways to divest themselves from businesses that should instead be privatized.

Often times the trouble comes about because of a lack of perspective between “needs” and “wants.” Elected officials should think carefully before using taxpayer dollars to fund an unneeded government enterprise.

In order to help local officials consider other options Representative Justin Fawson has introduced House Bill 271. This bill requires that local municipalities and counties commission a market impact study prior to approving a new government enterprise tied to recreation or entertainment. This study will include finding and notifying private companies in the state that could provide the service instead.

This study of the local economy and the responses of these local businesses will then need to be presented to the public via a process similar to “truth in taxation.” Only then would the local municipality or county be able to proceed with building the new government enterprise.

This process would create better informed local officials and make the public more aware of an important decision making process taking place in their local community. This should lead to better decisions and less government enterprises that compete with local business.