Qualified Opinions

Do we allow those around here?  Even Massachusetts may be coming around.  Governor Duvall Patrick (D, MA) is looking at his state’s business regulations with a view to reducing their footprint on…business.  The Wall Street Journal is reporting that, among other things, he’s going to insist on what amounts to a business impact statement before a new regulation can go into effect.  The regulator proposing a new rule would be required to answer such questions as

Is this likely to encourage or deter the formation of business?

which is standard pap, but then Duvall cuts to the chase with a follow-up:

Who did you consult from the small business community to come to this conclusion?


The governor’s look includes rescission/tweaking of such regulations as a requirement that a hair salon owner selling her shop to an employee must first close down while the state processes associated paperwork, and a requirement that funeral directors must hire full-time apprentices only; part-timers are barred.  He’s also looking at an additional roughly 800 regulations across 60 state agencies.

Time will tell whether this is a serious look, or primarily politically useful tweaks, but it’s a promising start.

There is reason for skepticism.  Last year, President Obama made a big deal about the regulatory review process he was initiating.  That, though, has turned out to be a sham, consisting of minor changes to minor regulations without addressing his overall regulatory environment, which has been entirely anti-business.

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