Friday Roundup: Stifling Innovation, Uber, Taxis, and Seattle income tax

There are always a few items we’ve read during the week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle:

E21: Stifling Innovation in San Francisco

 Even as companies headquartered in San Francisco develop new technologies or novel products, some of the city’s bureaucrats have recently expressed support for policies that would hinder further innovation.

City supervisor Norman Yee wants to prohibit food delivery robots, citing concerns about space and potential lost delivery jobs…More recently Jane Kim, another city supervisor, is pushing for a statewide tax on robots…

Cities and states that enact these protectionist measures will become less attractive to businesses. While it has played an outsize role in the recent wave of technological progress so, San Francisco could lose its place of primacy if these policies are ever enacted.

Washington Policy Center (Mercier): Seattle income tax: Public records edition

Based on the 1st installment of public records (322 pages) from the Seattle City Council on communications about the city income tax, it looks like this process started back in 2016. The Economic Opportunity Institute (EOI) approached councilmembers at least as early as January 2016 (more than a full year before it signed a $49,500 contract with the council to help develop the income tax ordinance). Something that is sure to give open government advocates some heartburn is the fact there was a series of private meetings during the Spring/Summer between councilmembers, city staff, EOI & other groups developing the income tax ordinance.

Associated Press: Common Core Used Widely, Despite Continuing Debate 

“The core of the Common Core remains in almost every state that adopted them,” said Mike Petrilli, president of the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute…

Petrilli, who advocated for Common Core, is convinced the standards resulted in more rigor and better tests.

“We are now following a much better recipe for student achievement, but the cake is still being baked, so we don’t yet know if it’s going to taste as good as we hope,” Petrilli said.

E21: Deregulate Taxis, Don’t Regulate Uber

While there is no question that the innovations of Uber and Lyft have caused medallion owners and taxi companies hardship, the misguided response of these groups has often been to call for increased regulation of ride-sharing services. They argue that Uber and Lyft have an unfair advantage because they do not have to follow the same regulations as taxis. As one taxi owner and spokesman for a medallion owner association stated, “We are not against competition, we are not against technology, but we want to compete fair and square.”

But the real answer for these owners is for cities to decrease existing regulations, not to create new ones. Superfluous rules and price caps have restricted entry and stifled competition. For the past 80 years, these regulations have served medallion holders and protected their businesses. Now that new services have been able to avoid them and offer more efficient alternatives, the rules are a hindrance on the same people they were created to protect.

Associated Press: Uber to lose its license to operate in London

Uber’s license to operate in London won’t be renewed because its practices endanger public safety and security, the local regulator said Friday, in a blow to a company already facing big questions over its corporate culture…

For its part, Uber accused the city of caving in to special interests “who want to restrict consumer choice.”

“Uber operates in more than 600 cities around the world, including more than 40 towns and cities here in the U.K.,” the company said. “This ban would show the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies who bring choice to consumers.”