NEWS BLOG (WSAU) On some issues, states simply can’t be out of touch with the rest of the country.
States that enact their own clean air standards are foolish. A storm-front doesn’t know that it’s passing from Ohio to Pennsylvania. If one or the other has stricter emissions standards, they’ll be at a competitive disadvantage.
California knows this. They have special emissions rules for cars. They assumed, incorrectly, that since California is such a big car market that other states would adopt the same rules. Since they didn’t, car companies manufacture “California cars” with more expensive catalytic converters – and Californians pay higher sticker prices than other states.
Wisconsin lawmakers are considering two “go it alone” proposals. Both sound good in theory. Both will be bad in practice.
Marlin Schneider (D-Wisconsin Rapids) proposes a state law that would cap credit card fees for merchants at 1-percent. Currently credit card companies charge stores 3-percent of everything they purchase as a fee for allowing customers to use MasterCard or Visa. 3-percent is standard across the country. Some large retailers are able to negotiate slightly better rates. So what happens if Wisconsin’s 1-percent becomes law? Visa and MasterCard may not do business with smaller retailers in the state. Or they’ll make up the difference by charging higher fees to card-users.
There’s a separate proposal that would change the way mail-in rebates are advertised. Companies would not be allowed to advertise a price that includes a rebate. They’d have to advertise the price that consumers have to pay at the cash register, before they mail-in to get some of their money back. National deals – like on computers and electronics – may not be available here if the bill becomes law. Or you’ll hear at the end of some commercials, “Offer void in Wisconsin.”
Wisconsin is not a big enough consumer market to make changes that will carry over to the rest of the country. When we ‘go it alone’ it may seem like we’re being consumer-friendly. The more likely result is we’ll have fewer consumer choices.
Operations Manager-Midwest Communications, Wausau