Heart of the Matter, Owen Hill, April 26, 2015

Station:   KLZ, 56o AM

Show:      Heart of the Matter

Guests:    Hill

Link:        http://www.americhicks.com/

Date:       April 26, 2015

Topics:            Taxi regulation, Uber, Lyft, Lobbyists, Competition, Drivers, Safer, Better Service, Affordable, Cheaper, Public Utilities Commission (PUC), Commons Core, Testing, Local Control, K-12 funding, School Finance, Michael Merrifield, Alternatives, Government, Big Business, Archaic Laws,

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[The following represents notes taken during this broadcasted interview.  All portions, except where identified as transcribed sections, are paraphrased from the questions and responses between the host and the guest.]

HOST MOLLY VOGT:  HB1316 – you’re on this bill, you’ve got bipartisan support, and it’s removing obstacles to opening new taxi businesses in CO.  And I really like the idea – more competition – always results in better service at lower rates – when people have a choice, it’s a win-win. 


  • It certainly is a win-win, I’m excited about it
  • Anything that will pass must be bipartisan
    • So I’ve been looking for deregulation ideas that we can all rally around
    • We did it with:
      • Some healthcare stuff
      • Now on regulating taxis & transportation
  • We have a vestige from WWII era – this notion of government planned transportation
    • These taxi companies have to show a public need for new company
    • That’s next to impossible to show that there’s an actual public need
  • This bill takes out that part about the “public need” – saying you don’t need to prove tot the PUC that there’s a public need
  • People always challenge us to get rid of some out-dated laws
    • this is a great bi-partisan opportunity to get rid of old laws on the books that limit competition

VOGT:  That’s awesome!  Interesting that a company has to go to PUC to prove a need for a business.  I have a better idea:  I’ll start a business and if people like it, they’ll use it; and if they don’t I’ll go out of business, How’s that


  • That’s awesome
  • One of the drivers from Ethiopia – an immigrant:
    • He said the exact same thing
    • It’s a great notion of America, isn’t it?

HOST KIM MUNSON:  We did research on this several months ago.  We found out that big biz likes big government – cuz they can use regulation to keep new competition out of the market.  It looks like that’s what’s going on, here.


  • That’s exactly what’s going on.  This keeps out competition
  • Current taxi companies are fighting hard to keep this from coming true
  • But we’re winning.
    • On Wednesday, it will be heard in R-controlled Sen. Biz Labor and Tech committee
    • Some Rs on that committee aren’t excited about this
      • They say it’s pro-union
      • This is a de-reg bill!
      • This is no more pro-union than Reagan deregulating the airlines
      • This is pro-competition bill
      • Call these legislators and tell them, “it’s time for some innovation on the taxi side”

VOGT:  I don’t get how this could be pro-union bill?


  • Good question!
  • It’s end of session
    • Fast-paced
    • Lot of stuff going on
    • It’s amazing – you hire a couple high-powered lobbyists and they can spin up a story that’s not necessarily in line with the truth

MUNSON:  That was a nice way to say that


  • I try to believe the best in people
  • Maybe that makes me a bad politician

MUNSON:  8 more days in the session?


  • Yes, we finish up next Wednesday
  • People of CO can rejoice
    • When we finish up, their property and rights are safe til next session

MUNSON:  This is exciting.  Was a catalyst for this bill coming from the competition coming from Uber and Lyft – ride sharing companies… that tells us that less regulation and more competition improves results for consumer, right?


  • You’re right
  • Not just better results from consumer
    • I always ask my ride-sharing driver their story
    • They are immigrants usually
    • In state across U.S.
    • They were taxi drivers and they switched over
    • They feel safer – they know who they’re picking up
    • Their families are happier about it –
      • More control over their hours
  • It’s a mistake to focus only on the consumer
    • This is a better quality of life
    • Better opportunity for those workers
    • This is perfect example of “rising tide lifts all boats”
      • Entrepreneurial capitalism
      • How can we not support that same kind of innovation on the taxi side

MUNSON:  I like that story.  If we really care about workers, this is the way we should go


  • Exactly right
  • If a taxi company isn’t taking care of their employees, they’ll switch and go to Lyft
  • And if Lyft doesn’t treat them well, they’ll switch to Uber
  • And if that doesn’t work, they’ll start their own company
  • It creates this notion of drive and have a good quality of life, while providing an affordable product to the consumer
  • That’s been the fundamental driving engine of all of America for the last couple hundred years
  • We need to keep going in that direction
  • This is a great bipartisan way we can do it –
  • And I say bipartisan because I’m cautiously optimistic that people on both sides of political aisle are coming to see that regulation doesn’t just harm consumers, but it harms workers
  • And we can come together around this idea of making everyone’s life better by encouraging competition

VOGT:  I hadn’t even thought about Uber making it safer for drivers – because drivers are robbed, or stiffed.  But now they know who’s getting in the car.  They’ve got the credit card number.  They’re going to get paid.


  • You’re right
  • I was talking to Samuel (driver)
    • He said he was ashamed when he was a taxi driver
    • Cuz he has 4 daughters and he didn’t want them anywhere near the taxi industry because it was so unsafe
    • He’s been driving for Uber for six months and now he’s encouraging his daughters to drive, to help pay for college
    • You see that shift in just six months!
  • Now we can bring that same opportunity to the taxi industry –
    • Not by government doing something
    • But by getting government out of the way.

VOGT:  The taxi companies have been lobbying to remove competition.  Government is supposed to protect all of us equally, not just special groups.  We want to make sure we’re keeping an eye on this.  If you don’t allow the free market to decide – if you only allow the gov. to decide, there will be less choice.  As we all know, the gov. has a great way of taking an unlimited resource and making it limited… and we don’t want that.  We want competition. It’s better for all of us.


  • You know, you’re exactly right
  • Someone is always going to decide who’s in biz and who’s not in biz
    • One option, the government decides
      • A couple of us are deciding for everyone
    • Another option is that people decide – we make our everyday decision to support a biz, or not support a biz
      • Restaurant example
    • I want the power of deciding who stays in biz to lie with families, and mothers, and fathers, and sons and daughters
      • Rather than politicians and bureaucrats

VOGT:   Right, right.  So HB 1316, keep this on your radar.  Let your legislators know you want them to vote for this bill.  That way, we can let the public decide if there’s a public need for a new business in this town.      What else is going on in the legislature?


  • I’ve got another bipartisan bill
    • With Michael Merrifield
    • To pull us back out of the federal takeover of education
      • Reducing the testing burden
      • Creating an alternative to PARCC and Common Core
  • That’s up for a vote in committee tomorrow (Monday) or Tuesday in the Senate and then going over to the House
  • This is another example
    • We can do things the CO way
    • We don’t need the gov. telling us how to do these things
  • I’m really excited to see more local control in education
  • At the same time,
    • On Friday, I passed the k-12 school finance bill
    • Unfortunately, lately, Obamacare has been expanding and crowding out education funding
      • So we’re going to make a very hard stand
      • The Constitution says we have to fund education
      • So we’re going to do it
    • It passed out of the Senate last Friday with a big increase in k-12 spending
      • Hopefully in a way that empowers local communities
      • Rather than Denver-run education
  • We’re excited on both of those fronts
  • Education is a big deal to me as a father, and for our 4 kids
  • It should be an exciting week coming up – keep an eye out – some exciting bills coming and some important bills that we have to kill

VOGT:  What are some of the ones that we should know [about] that you’re trying to kill?


  • You know, there’s always a new way to start a new government program.  Uh, five million dollars for some new long term birthcontrol.  I think that’s a personal decision people need to make.  Certainly the government shouldn’t be funding that.
  • We’ve got some changes to the Constitution. There’s a desire to get an end-around [on] TABOR this year, to move some of this spending out and not count it against our TABOR cap.  And there’s a way for our government to kind of sneak in some more debt, when technically we’re not supposed to be going into debt.
  • So, we’ve really got to keep a sharp eye on these things
  • I expect on the Finance committee and the State Affairs Committee I’m going to have my work cut out for me, voting ‘no’ on some bad bills — This week, as well.

MUNSON:  Senator Hill, good for you!  And thank you to you and your family.  I know that it takes a lot of time for you to do this – to represent the people of your community and Colorado.  We greatly appreciate your hard work.  So, thank you!  Keep it up!


  • Oh, y’all are so kind. […] Thank you guys, for keeping everyone updated and informed on what’s going on. All of us have a role to play in this great idea of a republic.  So, thank you so much, for being a part of all this.

MUNSON:  Have a great week!


  • All right!  Good night, y’all!