Institute for Justice Spearheads First-Round Victory To Open Denver’s Taxi Market

Institute for Justice · February 8, 1994

Washington, D.C. — Overcoming fierce opposition from organized labor, the trucking industry and many of Colorado’s most high-powered lobbyists, the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice successfully spearheaded the February 2 committee passage of legislation that would replace Colorado’s taxi system of regulated monopoly with a system of regulated competition. Senate Bill 113, which the Colorado Senate State Affairs Committee passed by a vote of 6-to-3, was led by the Institute as it continues its legal efforts representing four Denver entrepreneurs blocked from starting their own taxi company.

Chip Mellor, the Institute’s president and general counsel, as well as two of the entrepreneurs represented by the Institute, Leroy Jones and Ani Ebong, testified to the committee before the vote. They emphasized the positive impact SB 113’s passage would have on entrepreneurs as well as the minority community, which is under-served by the current monopoly.

Ebong, who emigrated to the United States 20 years ago, has been prevented from starting his own taxi business. Urging the legislation’s passage, Ebong said, “This country is the father of competition and yet I am blocked from competing. Where else can I go? I want a chance to succeed or fail on my own.”

Discussing SB 113, Mellor noted, “The right to earn an honest living receives less protection from the government than the ‘right’ to a welfare check. All our clients want, and what SB 113 would give them, is the opportunity to earn an honest living and compete in the marketplace. That is not much to ask for in America.”

The battle for the bill’s passage continues to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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