My Point of View: Streamlining Minnesota’s regulatory environment will help businesses
Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, February 22, 2022
My Point of View by Joseph Pacovksy
There is an old saying: The best cure for high prices is high prices. To effectively balance supply and demand, there must be fair competition and the ability of new suppliers of goods and services to enter the market. Minnesota must do everything possible to help new competitors in order to increase supplies of products to control price increases.
State level rules and regulations have a purpose: to provide a level playing field for market participants and to protect the public. Regulations have been enacted to protect workers’ safety, the health of consumers and the environment. Following rules and regulations creates a cost for all businesses, so the effectiveness of existing rules and regulations should be continuously evaluated.
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The common perception is that Minnesota is overregulated. Unnecessary regulations create unnecessary barriers for new competitors to enter markets and provide goods and services. The goal is to increase supplies of goods and services.
Minnesota has a robust procedure for the different agencies of the state to enact new rules and regulations and includes opportunities for the public to provide comments. The primary purpose of these procedures is to overcome any legal challenges during enforcement actions against non-compliers. There is not a parallel process to eliminate rules and regulations that have become obsolete because of technological and other changes. The rules and regulations of other state agencies also can create conflicts and duplication, which increases the costs of potential competitors.
I propose establishing a state commission whose purpose would be eliminating unnecessary rules and regulations. I understand the skepticism of creating another state commission. I believe that with clear direction it would be effective in controlling Minnesota’s level of regulation and maintaining necessary regulations. The commission would have authority to eliminate unnecessary rules and regulations either by its own initiative or as the result of evaluating citizen petitions. The commissioners appointed would be selected from all areas of the state, including rural areas and would be selected based on their expertise to judge the need and value of retaining specific regulations.
The current system that relies on the individual state departments that develop their own rules and regulations to also eliminate outdated rules is not working. The various departments of the state government have a vested interest to maintain and expand their regulations. Their level of regulation enhances their authority and reason to exist.
The various state departments also interpret their regulations. A consumer or business who does not agree with an interpretation ultimately only has one alternative. That is resorting to the court system, which is expensive and time consuming. This commission could be an alternative to courts to review department decisions.
Regulations are necessary, but there must be an organized process of removing outdated, conflicting and duplicative regulations to maintain Minnesota’s competitiveness.
Minnesota has a healthy economy. Long-term support and investments in education, infrastructure such as a robust highway system and an entrepreneurial spirit have resulted in a prosperous Minnesota. A streamlined, understandable regulatory environment will enhance Minnesota’s business attractiveness, increase competitiveness and enhance our business environment.
Joseph Pacovsky is a member of the Freeborn County DFL Party.