Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Welcome News for Maryland on the Regulatory Reform Front

We’re not shy about pointing out studies that show that Maryland’s fiscal situation or business climate compare unfavorably with its neighbors, such as Virginia, Delaware, or West Virginia. We surely don’t do so out of any sense of glee, but rather in the hope that highlighting such information will help spur Maryland’s citizens – and its policymakers – to embrace budgetary, tax, and regulatory reforms that will improve the welfare of the state for all.

While we’re not shy about suggesting ongoing reforms for moving Maryland ahead, we also are pleased when we can take note of good news. Some of that comes in the form of a new study from George Mason University’s Mercatus Center which shows that Maryland has less regulatory “red tape” than its neighboring states. Make no mistake, even though a cursory review of Maryland’s existing regulatory landscape indicates that there is more work to be done, it is nevertheless gratifying to take note of Maryland’s favorable position relative to its neighbors.

Over the last two years we have praised Governor Larry Hogan’s regulatory reform efforts, even as we have offered ideas for further reforms. Governor Hogan’s focus on regulatory reform, and the results so far, have a direct impact on Maryland’s fiscal and business climate. Here is the way the Mercatus’ James Broughel and Nick Zaiac put it in a December 15 Baltimore Sun essay:

One reason for Maryland’s competitive footing with its neighbors may be Gov. Larry Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford’s prioritization of regulatory reform. Mr. Hogan convened a regulatory reform commission soon after taking office, which Mr. Rutherford helps lead.

The commission has documented dozens of problematic regulations that the governor’s administration has modified or repealed. These include rollbacks of certain rules from the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation — the state’s third biggest regulator, based on restriction count.

Occupational licensing regulations, which require people in certain professions like cosmetology and landscaping to get state approval before they can work, are often crafted with the best of intentions. But they also limit upward mobility by creating barriers for people looking to find well-paying jobs or start small businesses to support their families.

So, it’s only right and proper to welcome and acknowledge the positive results attributable, at least in part, to the Hogan administration’s Regulatory Reform Commission and other efforts. And it’s only right and proper to urge that the focus on efforts to eliminate or at least modify costly, burdensome regulations that are no longer necessary – if ever they were – continue apace.