Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Gov. wise to freeze regulations

Guest Writer
Guest Opinion


Gov. Jan Brewer wasted no time putting into place one of the major themes in her inaugural address: giving businesses the freedom to create jobs as a way to improve the economy and state budget.

On her second day in office, Brewer issued a management directive freezing all new agency regulations and rulemakings until the end of April, subject to health and safety exemptions.

This will give her office an opportunity to review the scores of costly regulations in the queue.

Arizona went from being second in the nation for job growth in 2006 to being 46th in 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

The state is losing jobs at an alarming pace. The cost of complying with layers of regulations compounds this problem.

On just the federal level, regulations cost the average small business more than $7,000 per employee. When you add state and local regulations, this number grows much higher.

The money that businesses spend complying with regulations is money they are not spending on salaries or investing in ways that could help them grow.

As businesses struggle in this tough economy, the governor’s directive promises to bring some order and sensibility to the rulemaking process.

She has expressed her intention to carefully evaluate rules moving through the process, and some that were recently passed, in order to mitigate any potential economic harm.

An example of a well intentioned but potentially harmful rule is that proposed by the Department of Liquor to mandate employee education. This comes as the hospitality industry is struggling with a very weak economy.

The directive provides time for further review of current training within the industry before enacting new rules.

Brewer is also re-evaluating the so-called “clean car” rule that the Department of Environmental Quality moved forward last year.

This rule ties Arizona’s emission standards to California’s. There is scant scientific evidence of environmental benefit, and it will add thousands of dollars to the cost of each new vehicle.

Auto sales have plummeted over the past year as consumers struggle to access the credit necessary to purchase a car or truck. Thanks to the governor’s good judgment, Arizona consumers and car dealers may get a reprieve from these new costs.

The mission of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is to advance Arizona’s competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans.

The governor’s actions to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens are an outstanding way to improve Arizona’s competitiveness.

With California drowning itself in the Pacific Ocean as a result of high taxes and regulations, Arizona may be able to attract businesses looking for a less-hostile environment.

Glenn Hamer is president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Please send examples of burdensome regulations to Allison Bell at abell@azchamber.com.

The state is losing jobs at an alarming pace. The cost of complying with layers of regulations compounds this problem.

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