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First take: Tow truck “reform”

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TOW TRUCKS Ah, the free market: Your car is towed, and to collect it and get it released, you have to pay – what? Absent rules to the contrary, you pay whatever the truckers demand. Portland has had lots of headlines over this; some of the more recent in the Puget Sound charged with an $800 tab and then, Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat notes, “came horror stories of even gougier bills, as high as $1,400. City officials and state lawmakers vowed to cap towing rates, which in Wild West fashion could be jacked as high as the tow truckers desired.” There’s a reform bill in the legislature this session, but consider that “reform” in quotes: This is a bill the tow truckers love, because it sets state rates that are nearly as bad as the horror stories, much higher than most of the state now experiences, and four to five times higher than in places like New York. Westneat: “Well played, tow truckers. Well played.”

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