Salem, OR – Senate Republicans are calling for a two year suspension of all state agency rulemaking in order to spur job creation across the state. Small businesses routinely point to the bureaucratic morass of state government rules and regulations as a key barrier to job creation. A moratorium on rule making could be accomplished immediately by a Governor’s executive order or through a bill passed by the legislature in the opening days of the 2011 session.
“As we walked Main Street over the last few months, excess paperwork and over-regulation were among the top barriers to growth and job creation,” said Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). “By clicking the pause button on new rule making, we can empower businesses to succeed and grow while enabling government to focus simply on delivering core services.”
In December, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire (D) issued an executive order suspending the development of all new agency rules for the next year. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) enacted a similar order in 2009.
For many Oregon businesses, monitoring and responding to agency regulatory demands and changes requires significant time and expense. For example, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division is announcing potential rules for a 40% increase in penalties. The Department of Environmental Quality is now working on new water quality standards that are so strict they will make businesses unable to get a permit to simply put clean water back into the same water source from which they took it. In September, the Department of Business and Consumer Services enacted a sudden 39% workers’ compensation premium assessment by rule with little notice to the public.
“In this tough economic environment, every additional permit, report and rule limits a business’ flexibility and competitiveness,” said Ferrioli. “A moratorium gives businesses the chance to gain momentum and start creating jobs for Oregon families again.”
This is one of several regulatory reform measures Senate Republicans plan to push for this session. Republicans will be championing a mandatory rolling sunset on all programs and will work to make sure that when a program or spending is cut, the associated administrative rules are cut too. Republicans also want to increase legislative oversight of agency rule making. Republicans’ top priorities for this session include reducing government spending and helping Oregonians get back to work.
The most recent unemployment rates have revealed that one in every five Oregonians is functionally unemployed.