Deadline today for Georgia departments

Gov. Deal requires report on state agency duplication

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ATLANTA -- Today every Georgia agency is to submit a report to Gov. Nathan Deal on the burdensome regulations or duplications that are hampering businesses.

He issued an executive order in February at the suggestion of a group of executives who participated in his Competitiveness Initiative. Their assignment was to find ways to help employers create more jobs, and most of their recommendations concerned tax cuts, incentives and improving public education.

Deal instructed the agencies to “immediately review their respective rules and regulations to ensure they are not imposing unnecessary burdens on individuals and businesses.”

None have submitted reports ahead of the deadline.

Deal’s office won’t be showcasing any triumphs of new-found efficiency right away, according to his spokesman Brian Robinson.

“After individual agencies submit their findings, we will do a comprehensive review with agency leadership to help implement these changes,” he said.

The idea of stripping away unneeded red tape to allow businesses to recover from the recent recession and resume hiring is one shared by most Republicans. During this year’s legislative session, House Speaker David Ralston assigned a special committee to conduct hearings and ferret out cumbersome regulations. However, most of the witnesses complained about federal or local rules or even the policies of private insurance companies.

The market-oriented think tank Georgia Public Policy Foundation in Atlanta endorses the elimination of unneeded regulations but isn’t expecting major revelations from the agencies’ review, according to its president Kelly McCutcheon.

“Although we have found most burdensome regulations to be from the federal government, it is certainly worth asking the question at the state level,” he said. “Business organizations in the state should also be encouraged to survey their members and pass along their comments to the governor. Our biggest challenge at the state level typically revolves around professional-licensing requirements.”

A problem with asking the agencies to police themselves is that they may not perceive a given regulation as unneeded and burdensome or may be reluctant to admit it. Of course, well-run agencies may not have anything to report anyway.


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