Key Points
  • Regulations should always be simple and transparent, focusing on the particular issue and should not become an opportunity to provide favoritism to particular special interests.
  • Regulations should not be based on speculation, anecdotes, statistical correlation and nonreplicable or non-independent studies. Instead, a science-based approach that involves credible cost-benefit analysis, publicly-available data and scientifically validated data should be part of any state risk assessment.
  • Legislative oversight and democratic accountability are critical components of sound regulatory systems.

In his first inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson said that “the sum of good government” was one “which shall restrain men from injuring one another” and “shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry.” Sadly, governments – both federal and state – have ignored this axiom and continue to rapidly expand the already immense regulatory state.

Virtually every facet of our lives is somehow touched by government regulations. The food we eat, cars we drive, places we work, even the mattresses we sleep on every night are regulated, in some way, by federal and state governments. According to an estimate by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, regulatory compliance costs and economic impacts total $1.863 trillion annually, equal to a roughly $15,000 “hidden tax” per U.S. household. Americans spend more on this “tax” than any other expense except for housing.

Research from the Mercatus Center finds that total federal regulatory restrictions have increased by nearly 170 percent since 1970, to more than 1 million. It would take a person more than 3 years to read the Code of Federal Regulations if it was their full-time job. The slower economic growth associated with regulatory accumulation resulted in an economy that was $4 trillion smaller in 2012 than it could have been had regulation been held at 1980 levels. Meanwhile, states have added restrictions to the total, ranging from just over 63,000 in Arizona to more than 307,000 in New York.

This is not to say that all regulations are bad and should be done away with entirely. Obviously, there is a role for governments to play in ensuring the air and water we breathe and drink is clean, food and medication we consume are safe and the places we work don’t pose significant threats to our health and safety. That said, regulations should be transparent, fair, and impose minimal financial burdens on businesses and families.

Publications

+ All Regulatory Reform Publications

Model Policies

  • Employment Mandate Preemption

    The People of the State __ enact: Sec. 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the “local government labor regulatory limitation act.” Sec. 2. The legislature finds and declares that regulation of the employment relationship between a nonpublic business and its employees is a matter of …

  • Model Legislation for Remote Online Notarization Draft

    Chapter       Remote Online Notary Sec. 1.   DEFINITIONS.  In this (Chapter): “Appear” or “personally appear” or “in the presence of” means: being in the same physical location as another person and close enough to see, hear, communicate with, and exchange tangible identification credentials with that individual; or interacting with another …

  • Ordinance Establishing Mobile Food Vendors Draft

    ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING MOBILE FOOD VENDORS: WHEREAS, mobile food vending is a popular and diverse part of local economies across the United States; WHEREAS, [XXX Municipality] desires to support economic development, foster opportunities for small businesses and encourage mobile food vending; WHEREAS, [XXX Municipality] seeks to increase consumer access to desired …

  • Prompt Payment Ordinance Draft

    AN ordinance concerning business. Be it enacted by the [Insert Governing Body],represented in the [Insert Jurisdiction]: Section 1. The Contractor Prompt Payment Ordinance as follows: A construction contract may provide for the withholding of retainage of up to 10% of any payment made prior to the completion of …

  • Net Operating Loss Reform Act Draft

    Section 1. Adopt the Net Operating Loss Provisions of the Internal Revenue Code as amended by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic. [INSERT STATE] is to adopt or otherwise conform to the federal CARES Act’s Temporary Repeal of Taxable Income Limitation contained …

  • Property Tax Appraisal Reform Act Draft

    SECTION 1 Amends [INSERT STATE] Tax Code, as follows: If the appraised value of property in a tax year is lowered upon taxpayer appeal, the appraised value of the property as finally determined under that determination is considered to be the appraised value of the property for that tax year.

+ All Regulatory Reform Model Policies

Task Forces

Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development

Members of the Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force believe that economic freedom is the cornerstone of prosperity. The …

Energy, Environment and Agriculture

The Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force operates under the principles of free-market environmentalism, that is to promote the mutually …

Communications and Technology

With nearly 200 members representing all parts of the country and every segment of industry, the Communications and Technology Task …

Press Releases

+ All Regulatory Reform Press Releases