Wisconsin is the third state in the last few months to review its regulatory process as a way to energize job creation. Governor Scott Walker this week said the regulatory review would ensure that “only the most necessary rules are implemented so businesses are no longer held back by the costs of overregulation.”
During a special session meant to improve Wisconsin’s business climate, Gov. Walker has proposed draft legislation that would prohibit agencies from creating new rules based on general powers or duties. The draft also seeks to keep agencies from creating rules more restrictive than the regulatory standards or thresholds provided by the state legislature.
“We need to ensure that state agencies are focused on job creation,” said Gov. Walker in a statement. Additional measures would allow rule challenges to take place in the county circuit court where the plaintiff resides and require an economic cost/benefit analysis of rules. Additional actions sought by the new governor during the “Wisconsin is Open for Business Special Session” include eliminating the state tax on health savings accounts, reforming the Department of Commerce, and a requirement that a supermajority vote in the state legislature is needed to pass a tax increase.
Late last year, both North Carolina and Washington state governors called for a moratorium on new regulations. A directive handed down by Bev Purdue suspended all rulemaking unless “absolutely necessary,” because many of the state’s rules no longer serve the citizens effectively.
Washington governor Chris Gregoire signed an executive order suspending the state’s rulemaking process so that local governments and small businesses could focus their limited resources on continuing the state’s economic recovery.
In both instances, each governor has made caveats for reasons of public health, safety and welfare risks. In North Carolina, Gov. Perdue set up a website intended to allow citizens to voice support or criticism for rules and regulations they believed burdensome or irrelevant.
Wisconsin’s overhaul does not prohibit any new rules, but the governor has indicated all proposed rules must be approved by his office before being enacted.
The governor hopes his bill will help bring 250,000 new jobs to the state over the next four years, but the Associated Press says that critics argue the bill will do little more than add $152 million to the state’s $3 billion budget deficit.