Cutting through the red tape


Has the size and intrusiveness of government got you singing the holiday blues? You’re not alone. Fortunately the state has seen the writing on the wall and has proposed a list of changes to regulations in order to lighten its burden on businesses.[pullquote]The creeping growth of government often has a debilitating effect on business and productivity.[/pullquote]

Governor Gary Herbert recently announced the results of a Utah Business Regulations Review intended to scour state rules and regulations in an effort to make Utahagencies and businesses more efficient. Highlighted in the report were a proposed 295 changes to business regulations: 

238 in the form of amendments, 47 in repeals, and ten in promulgations [making them more widely known]. In addition, 32 organizational changes have been or will be made. And, 41 legislative changes have been made or will be requested: 32 in the form of amendments and nine in requested repeals (p. 44).

Proposed changes range from how many tax returns businesses must file in a year to loosening laws so parents in the Polynesian community can teach their children how to fire dance. The governor’s efforts to rid businesses of unnecessary and costly regulations are to be applauded. It has been 25 years since a similar deregulation effort has been made (1986 under Governor Norm Bangerter). While agencies are required to review rules every five years, this recent, more thorough review was absolutely necessary and a step in the right direction.

The creeping growth of government often has a debilitating effect on business and productivity. While I am by no means advocating for the repeal of all rules and regulations – most of which do serve the public good by providing safety and ethical standards of conduct – responsible behavior should and must emanate from the individual desire to do good, not the bureaucratic taskmaster standing over one’s shoulder enforcing it.

Response from governor’s survey of 323 Utah businesses

The United States Chamber of Commerce recently announced:

Reducing the burden of labor and employment regulation in the states could act as a ‘free’ shot of economic stimulus—equal to approximately seven months of job creation at the current average rate.

Pivotal to Utah’s growth and continued recognition for its “business-friendly” atmosphere are the rules and regulations the state has in place. These rules can either entice businesses to expand or start up in Utah or dissuade them from doing so. Continued efforts to pull down unnecessary “red tape” that hinder Utah’s business environment should be encouraged and welcomed by free-market-economy lovers across the state.

Response from governor’s survey of 323 Utah businesses

At Sutherland Institute, we think the governor’s efforts are a good start. However, 25 years between thorough reviews is too long. Instituting an automatic review every 10 years would be a great start to responding effectively to regulatory concerns. Whenever the next one takes place, we certainly hope it does not take another 25 years.

Those who follow Sutherland Institute’s blog on a regular basis are aware of our own efforts to highlight unnecessary government licensing and regulation. Government responsiveness is dependent upon citizens speaking out and getting involved. What regulations, licenses, etc., have you encountered that you feel warrant a second look? We encourage you to share them with us and look forward to reading them in our comments section.