Wednesday, July 16, 2008

WIL takes on the minimum mark-up law

The Wisconsin Institute for Leadership issued the following press release today:

Wisconsin Lawmakers Could Move to Lower Gas Prices by Next Week

Wisconsin Institute for Leadership Urges Doyle to Call Special Session to Repeal Minimum Mark Up Law
[Madison, Wisc.] Gasoline prices in Wisconsin could be dramatically reduced if the state's arcane Minimum Mark Up Law was repealed. The Wisconsin Institute for Leadership (WIL) is urging Governor Doyle to call a Special Session of the state legislature next week to reduce gas prices here.

"This is a dumb law that hurts families in Wisconsin," said WIL Executive Director Brian Fraley. "With gas at more than four bucks a gallon, now more than ever, our elected officials should move to repeal this law or explain why they support this constraint on the free market."

Under Wisconsin's Minimum Mark Up Law, which has been in place since the 1930s, fuel wholesalers are required by the state to mark up their prices by at least 3 percent and retailers are required by the state to raise prices by at least another 6 percent. This adds a whopping 36 cents a gallon to the cost of $4.00 a gallon gasoline.

"If the Governor were to bring this issue to the forefront now, I'm confident this ridiculous law would be wiped off the books forever," said Fraley. "With families and businesses feeling tremendous pain at the pump, now is the time to repeal the minimum mark up law."

The Institute is encouraging Wisconsin residents to call Governor Doyle to encourage him to announce a Special Legislative Session to rescind the Minimum Mark Up law. His office number is 608-266-1212.

The Wisconsin Institute for Leadership is a state-focused independent advocacy organization that works to educate and mobilize Wisconsin residents on policies that expand individual liberties, encourage free markets, promote high quality education and demand accountability from public officials.

Working to preserve and improve the quality of life for all Wisconsin residents, WIL encourages ethical governing which promotes private sector solutions to the economic and social challenges facing the state during the 21st Century.

Visit WIL's website: and participate in the free grassroots WIL Forum at

In 2007 a federal magistrate ruled that the Minimum Mark Up Law violated the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution because compliance with the law was not actively monitored. Yet the law continues to be in place and in force in Wisconsin.

Unhappy with any idea that might actually benefit Wisconsin families, the very left-wing One Wisconsin Now (with their wonderfully fascist-sounding name) posted an attack on their blog accusing them of being corporate shills:

Despite the division in the conservative ranks about the law, the group has picked a side. Why? Well, consider this: The chair of Fraley’s three-person board is John Behling. Behling served as a long-time lobbyist for Capitol Consultants. Two of Capitol Consultants clients are Wal-Mart and Mc Lane Foods, both of which registered in favor of a bill this session (AB 820) calling for an end to the minimum markup law. So surprise, surprise, Fraley and his new group are making this case.

So one board member has a connection to an issue and it excuses OWN from coming up with any substantive arguments against the repeal of the minimum markup law. Instead of mudslinging, perhaps One Wisconsin Now could focus their energies on ending unconstitutional and archaic laws against competition and free enterprise.

Unless, of course, they like high gasoline prices.