First they came for Uber… First the General Assembly decided to regulate Uber and Lyft after taxicab companies protested, then Airbnb after hotels protested. Now lawmakers are moving to regulate peer-to-peer car sharing after rental-car companies started griping. Roanoker Neil Aneja owns three automobiles that he rents out through car-sharing app Turo. As he explains to the Roanoke Times, “It’s like Airbnb for cars.” Car rental companies (and the local governments that generate taxes fro them) say Aneja isn’t competing on a level playing field. The motor vehicle rental tax in Virginia is 10%. Both sides have valid arguments. If there’s going to be a tax, it should be applied to car rentals across the board. On the other hand, why should the state punish individuals who want to make a little cash from their automobile assets? Does government have to tax everything? I rented a U-Haul van the other day. The rental agency advertised a $25 charge. By the time taxes and fees were added in, the final bill was more like $40. They get you coming and going.
Why do do-gooders hate poor people? Retired economics professor David W. Kreutzer has a great op-ed in the RTD on the subject of payday lenders. General Assembly do-gooders (HB 789, for instance) want to cap the interest rates that payday lenders can charge on their small, short-term loans, a measure that would put the lenders out of business. When states cap interest rates, the payday lenders leave. Where do poor people go when they need small, short-term loans? In states banning payday lending, pawn-shop borrowing is 60% higher than other states, and the rate of involuntary checking-account closures is triple. Writes Kreutzer: “There is no ruby-heel clicking or wand waving that transforms unbanked households into banked ones or increases anybody’s savings when rate caps shut down payday lenders.”
Your government is in the finest of hands: Christian Dorsey, Virginia’s representative on the Washington Metro board, has yet to repay a $10,000 campaign donation he accepted in violation of the board’s ethics policy. Dorsey, a Democrat who also serves on the Arlington County Board, said he is working on a wire transfer to return the money to a transit union that negotiates with Metro. Personal bankruptcy issues are making it difficult to fulfill his pledge, made three months ago, to return the donation. The ethics lapse, reports the Washington Post, follows the resignation of Jack Evans, a D.C. Council member, following revelations that he was receiving money from a parking company that did business with Metro.
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