New Mexico’s Public Regulation Commission (PRC) is responsible for approving utility prices, regulating insurance, and licensing motor carriers.1 Among its broad regulatory powers, the PRC enforces "common carrier" regulations which fix the rates and limit the amount of individuals who can legally provide services such as tow trucks, taxis, moving vans, buses, shuttles, ambulances and railroads.2 Prospective companies seeking to enter the market must file a "certificate of public convenience and necessity" according to a report by Think New Mexico.3
These certificates are significant barriers to entry leading to higher prices and fewer options for consumers. It is not unreasonable to lable this relationship a cartel, which benefits the few well-connected and protected businesses at the expense of everyone else. Arguably, this marriage between public regulators and private businesses creates a symbiotic relationship that continues to block competition as well as engender an environment ripe for corruption. Clearly, the success of Carter-era deregulations discussed in our "Day 2" E-mail could be brought to New Mexico.
As well as being subject to the regulations of the PRC, motor carriers of passangers and household goods are also regulated by the New Mexico Department of Public Safety (DPS).4 These unwarrented burdens on businesses who seek to provide transportation services etc. must be challenged and abolished. The issue of safety should be exclusively regulated by the DPS and the PRC should curb its meddling in the transportation sector. By maintaining the status quo New Mexicans suffer from higher prices, innovation is stifeled, and fewer entrepreneurs are able to pursue their business ideas.
3"Think New Mexico," Rethinking the PRC, Fall, 2011.