Testimony of Tom Giovanetti
President, Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI)
Before the Transportation Committee
Texas House of Representatives
May 11, 2021
Thank you Mr. Chairman for this opportunity to share our thoughts in support of HB 4379. My name is Tom Giovanetti, and I am the president of the Institute for Policy Innovation, a 34 year old conservative, free-market policy think tank in Dallas.
Most of you on the committee probably consider yourselves supporters of the free market and of economic freedom.
One of the basic ideas of a free market is that we believe competition benefits everyone. Competition ensures the best outcomes for consumers, offers choice, rewards creativity, execution and innovation. Competition disrupts existing business models and creates new ones.
Just as it’s wrong to protect a specific business from competition, it’s wrong to protect a specific business MODEL from competition. We want competition between and innovation in business MODELS, not just in businesses.
Yet here in Texas we protect the auto dealership model against competition—against competition from the direct sales model. We didn’t protect the travel agent model against direct sales of airline tickets. There’s a whole host of areas where the Internet has disrupted old business models and made new ones possible. Yet here in Texas, supposedly a state where we value free markets, we insist on protecting the traditional auto dealer model against competition. If you claim to believe in free-markets, you should support this bill. Florida and many other states allow direct sales of electric vehicles, and so should Texas.
If I may make one final point, some conservatives act like somehow it’s a conservative principle to oppose electric vehicles. I have to ask: Are you opposed to electric cooktops? Are gas burning cooktops somehow conservative and electric cooktops some kind of leftist commie scheme?
Electric cars are just a newer technology. In my view they shouldn’t be subsidized by taxpayer dollars, but they shouldn’t be opposed, either. So if you believe in competition and free markets, and if your principles are not offended by electric cooktops, there is no reason for you to oppose this bill and there’s every reason to support it. Thank you.