Earlier this year, my office conducted a survey of over 360,000 Oregon businesses to better understand their views on how state government is supporting businesses. The response was clear, Oregon businesses lack confidence and trust in their government.
Based on the survey, I have recommended that our legislature enact reforms during the upcoming 2018 legislative session. These reforms would cap the number of regulations the state can issue. Last year, Canada enacted similar caps, and British Columbia has been successfully functioning with caps since 2001. This would change the mentality of Oregon’s agencies from regulation creators to regulation managers.
Meaningful regulations are necessary for an orderly society. However, when the cost of good intentions exceeds the benefits to our businesses, consumers, and government—this is the very definition of “red tape.”
Over decades, Oregon's regulatory burden has been built-up one regulation at a time. All combined, Oregon has accumulated over 26,000 pages of laws and rules that apply to businesses and citizens alike. There is so much regulation that no one can reasonably know and understand all of the government's requirements that apply to them. While large corporations may be able to afford legal compliance departments, most small businesses don’t have the resources or capacity to research and understand the mountain of regulatory requirements.
Red tape is a drain on Oregon's economy, and it hinders the growth of businesses, incomes, family-wage jobs, and tax revenue. Capping the growth of regulation is a common-sense first step to regaining trust in government.