A Victory over Evil

For three years, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) investigated Spec’s Wine, Spirits, and Finer Foods, the state’s largest liquor retailer. At the conclusion of its investigation, the TABC sought to pull the licenses for Spec’s 164 stores, unless the company paid a fine of $713 million.

The TABC alleged that Spec’s had accepted millions […]

The Evil of Occupational Licensing

A bill is being considered in Austin that will redefine what it means to be a psychologist. Anyone who engages in certain conversations with others will be considered a criminal if he doesn’t meet the state’s criteria. The bill would force life coaches, hypnotherapists, spiritual healers, business coaches, positive thinking coaches, and countless others to […]

Safe Buildings and City Regulations

The City of Houston makes building owners jump through outrageous hoops to obtain permission to occupy and use their property. Ostensibly, these regulations are intended to ensure the safety of those use the building. But as a recent audit of the Life Safety Bureau of the Houston Fire Department discovered, those regulations are nothing more […]

Tyranny for Me, Tyranny for Thee

Chronicle business writer Chris Tomlinson is opposed to freedom. In a recent column, he opined that those who don’t like a law need only “hire a friend in Austin”–a state legislator. Tomlinson then goes on to point out several examples of businesses lobbying state legislators to override local ordinances or rewrite state laws.

As one […]

Beer Cronyism

Last week, the Texas House passed a bill that will establish new regulations for craft brewers who sell directly to consumers. The bill will require brewers who produce more than 175,000 barrels per year to sell their product to distributors, and then buy it back from the distributors before selling it to consumers.

In theory, […]

Free the Electricity Producers

Centralized government planning never works. It’s true of the economy in general, and it’s true of specific industries, such as electricity. Though Texas reduced regulations pertaining to the electric industry in 1998, the industry remains heavily regulated.

Chronicle business writer Chris Tomlinson notes that Public Utility Commission (PUC) regulations are causing problems for the industry. […]

Cronyism vs. Competition

The Texas Legislature is considering a bill that will allow auto makers to sell directly to consumers. Currently, new automobiles must be purchased through a franchised dealership. Not surprisingly, the bill is opposed by dealership owners. Wyatt Wainwright, president of the Houston Automobile Dealers Association, recently met with lawmakers to explain why auto dealers oppose […]

Made in Texas

According to The Texas Tribune, “Under federal law, wine can have an appellation of origin from a state if a minimum 75 percent of its grapes are grown in that state. The other 25 percent can come from anywhere.” The Texas Legislature is considering a bill that will require Texas winemakers to use 100 percent […]

The Danger of Deregulation

Many have applauded President Trump’s stated objective to “massively” reduce regulations. Certainly, fewer regulations are better than the mountains of controls and prohibitions that currently stifle American businesses. But reducing regulations is not the panacea some might believe.

Consider the Environmental Protection Agency as an example. Last week, Scott Pruitt, the head of the agency, […]

Title Insurance and Cronyism

Every day, we are subjected to the hidden costs of government regulations. Government drives up the cost of nearly every product and service, including title insurance. While title insurance isn’t a sexy topic, it impacts nearly every real estate transaction, and thus has an impact on housing costs, the cost of doing business, and everything […]