NFIB Among Those Opposed To City-Owned Gas Station In Kentucky

Date: August 20, 2014

The Kentucky office of NFIB has come out in opposition to the establishment of a gas station by the city of Somerset, Kentucky

The Kentucky office of the National Federation of Independent Business has come out in opposition to the establishment of a gas station by the city of Somerset, Kentucky that sells regular gas for substantially less than the state average because it does not need to make a profit. Last week, NFIB Kentucky’s Tom Underwood was quoted as saying, “Our members are really getting up in arms about this, and we’ll be approaching the Kentucky General Assembly to see if we can find relief there.”

Reports on the apparently unprecedented project in Somerset have tended to focus on residents who say they are pleased to save money, but the AP reported that Duane Adams, who owns a gas station on Somerset, points out the drawbacks of governmental intrusion in the marketplace. Adams said, “They’ve used the taxpayer money that I have paid them over these years to do this, to be against us. I do not see how they can’t see that as socialism.” Likewise, Kentucky state Sen. Chris Girdler (R) calls the nonprofit municipal gas station “nothing but a socialist movement.” Girdler expanded on his case against the Somerset municipal gas station in an op-ed for the Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader.

Brian Clark, executive director of the Kentucky Petroleum Marketers Association, in an interview with ABC News, said, “The city will be competing directly with small businesses directly in the community, which raises many questions, not the least of which is: why is this a good idea?” Clark added, “It’s scary for us who depend on local businesses for their jobs, especially because the government says it intends to interfere with the free market.”

Further Reading: NPR had an update on the controversy in Somerset last week.

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