Merrill gas station owner Raj Bhandari says his gas sales dropped dramatically after he was forced to stop offering discounts to senior citizens and supporters of a local youth hockey league. The discounts came to an abrupt halt when state officials warned Bhandari he might face huge fines because he was violating the law. The Institute for Justice (IJ), a national public interest law firm with a history of defending economic liberty and the rights of entrepreneurs, filed a lawsuit on Bhandari's behalf in Madison, challenging the Wisconsin Unfair Sales Act - what it calls a 1930s relic - as a violation of fundamental constitutional rights that stifles competition and harms consumers. The act makes it illegal to sell gasoline without marking it up either 6 percent over cost or 9.18 percent over the local wholesale price - whichever is higher. Wisconsin is one of 20 states that enforce a minimum mark-up on gasoline, and state supreme courts in Georgia, Kentucky and Arkansas have struck down similar laws. But supporters, like Bob Bartlett of the Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers Association, say it protects independent gas station owners from being driven out of business by larger businesses like Wal-Mart.
Do you support the suit against the gas mark-up law?
Then, tell us why or why not...
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