Repeal the "Minimum Markup
Did you know that you pay an extra
9.18% for every gallon of gas you buy? Did you know that your grocery bill is more
expensive simply because you live in Wisconsin and not another
state in the midwest? Or that you might not be able to take
advantage of some of the best
deals this year? The
Unfair Sales Act2,
better known as the "Minimum Markup Law", is the reason you pay
more for things you purchase every day.
Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa), Representative
Jim Ott (R-Mequon), and I recently introduced a proposal to
repeal this antiquated and unfair law. The Minimum Markup law is
a Depression Era law passed in 1939, with the intention of
protecting smaller companies from larger companies who can sell
their products at a lower price. This law regulates the prices
that businesses can charge for their products (including gas,
general merchandise, alcohol, and tobacco but excluding services
and types of discounts) by making it illegal to sell below cost
and requiring businesses to mark up the sales
price by a certain percentage. Fast forward to today, and this
law keeps prices artificially high for consumers and
businesses alike, and restricts competition in the marketplace. I
believe in the power of the free market, but this law says
that the government knows better than businesses and consumers
how to price products.
Opponents of this bill will contend that
these price controls are needed to protect small businesses from
large companies undercutting their prices, and that a repeal of
this law will result in the closure of small businesses around
the state. Here are some reasons why I disagree. First, there are already
federal anti-trust laws3protecting businesses from the
type of predatory pricing that they are concerned about. In
other words, a company cannot adopt a strategy of reducing
prices low enough to knock out competition and then raise prices
once the competition is eliminated from the market. The Minimum
Markup law goes further than preventing predatory pricing; it
actually forces businesses to increase the price of the product.
Second, the opponents of this bill make the assumption that the
only thing businesses compete on is price. This simply is not
true. Just because Walmart can sell products at a lower price
than a local store, does not mean that I won't patronize the
local store. Businesses compete on the quality of the goods they
produce, customer service, location and convenience for the
customer, and many other factors.
In the Midwest, only North Dakota and Minnesota have
a comparable markup law that is as broad as Wisconsin's.
Many of our neighbors have recognized that this law only hurts
consumers. Recently, we saw the negative effects of this law with the Meijer supermarket chain opening in Wisconsin.
Meijer is accused of offering deals that are "too good" to its customers4,
and may face fines from the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and
Consumer Protection, which is ironic coming from
our consumer protection agency. Look to our neighbors in
State Commerce Department fined Midwest Oil of
Minnesota $140,0005 for selling gas below the legal minimum
price. I don't think that businesses in Wisconsin should face
the heavy hand of government for being able to efficiently
compete in the market and offer goods deals to their customers.
This important issue directly affects your
everyday life and your pocketbook. I have heard from supporters
and opponents of the bill. I really want to
get your feedback and hear your stories. Please let me know your
thoughts on the Minimum Markup law. Should it be repealed or not?
Email me at
1WISN News TV Report:
Trade Commission Website:
News TV Report:
Governor Walker Back in
Governor Walker addressed the Assembly Republican Caucus
yesterday. He unveiled new recruitment and retention reforms to the civil service system that the Legislature will take
up this session. Because of the impending wave of retirements
from baby boomers, the goal of the reforms is to make sure the
State of Wisconsin, as an employer, can continue to recruit and
retain the best and brightest employees.
UW-Oshkosh Inauguration of
I attended the inauguration of UW-Oshkosh's
new Chancellor, Andrew Leavitt, who will be UW-Oshkosh's 11th
Chancellor. Thank you to Chancellor Richard Wells for his 14
years of outstanding service. I look forward to working with
Chancellor Leavitt and wish him the best of luck in his new
Left to right: Representative Dave Murphy, UW
System President Ray Cross, Former UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Richard
2015-2016 Blue Books are
The 2015-2016 Wisconsin Blue Books are in! These
book are a great resource to learn about the legislative,
executive, and judicial branches and the public officials who
serve in each branch, as well as the Wisconsin federal
congressional delegation, state constitution, elections, state
history, statistical information, and facts about Wisconsin.
This year the feature article is about Wisconsin in the Civil
If you are interested in ordering a Blue Book,
at no charge to you, please send an email to
with the following information: your name, mailing address,
phone number, and the number of Blue Books you want.
You can read the Blue Book online here.
I live in Greenville, but have an
office at the State Capitol in Madison. If you are in
downtown Madison, please feel free to stop by and say
hello! Just go to the information desk in the rotunda,
and they can direct you on how to find my office, 318
North. At the bottom of each e-update, you'll see my
office contact information.
If your school or group plans to tour the Capitol
building, please let me know in advance. I'd
love to visit with you for a few minutes and take a
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.
To unsubscribe from this newsletter, reply with
"unsubscribe" in the subject line.