I’ve Got My Eye on That Tesla, Mister!

I've Got My Eye on That Tesla, Mister!

Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
October 26, 2014

I was hoping for something a little bit more. Not expecting. Hoping. The backstory: Gov. Rick Snyder signs ‘anti-Tesla’ bill into law

Basically this is a law that was already a law in Michigan: Autos have to be sold through dealerships. You can debate the merits of that — it seems anti-competitive, but there are some compelling reasons for consumer protection. This new law reiterates that and then has some extra stuff slipped in, seemingly designed to make life difficult for new competitors in the market, such as Tesla the electric carmaker. The startling thing is that it passed through the legislature with only one vote against it. Even non-binding resolutions for, say, “support our troops” or “puppies are cute” tend to have more than one No vote.

So Governor Snyder had an excellent opportunity to distinguish himself as the true independent, business-first capitalist that he says he is and veto it. Instead he signed it saying basically “it doesn’t change existing law and the legislature really liked it.” Nothing about meeting a real need or solving a necessary issue. I don’t blame Snyder. He is a couple weeks away from a closer-than-expected election, and politically he did the safe thing. Again, wasn’t expecting more. Was just hoping.

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