Grover Norquist appeared as a panelist today at the 7th Annual Summit on the Economy, speaking on the topic of “Understanding Debt in the Context of Tax Reform and Economic Growth.” The panel included Maya MacGuineas and Richard Vague, and was moderated by the Wall Street Journal’s Gregory Ip.

Norquist urged governments to immediately adopt open competition laws. He pointed out that state and local regulations prohibit competition and drive up the cost of restoring American infrastructure. He explained:

“If you were to rebuild all the water pipes, both the sewage and clean water in the country, it’s about $1.3 trillion. There are laws that were passed over the last years in many cities and states that require, they say, ‘If you have pipes in our city, they have to be made of this material and they have to be this big.’ Other cities have open competition, they say, ‘Well, we’ll tell you what we need and how strong it has to be. We won’t tell you what to make it out of. We won’t tell you what company to buy it from. And we don’t tell you what industry is going to make a profit off of it.’

And when you look at cities that had open competition and compare them to ones with closed competition, to redo the whole country – the $1.3 trillion – you save about $380 billion by moving to open competition. So why would anybody consider spending a penny of federal money on infrastructure, on pipelines, when cities and states pass [these] laws . . . Laws which drive up the costs by 28% of fixing water pipes need to be repealed at the state and local level before anybody should ask the federal government for money.”

Norquist continued, “Let everybody compete. Don’t have these corporate welfare laws that are designed to advantage Fred over Mary . . . There’s a bunch of reform that needs to be done and there’s no reason not to do it. Why pay billions more for infrastructure than necessary?”

According to Norquist, both tax reform and deregulation are possible under the Trump administration. He asserted, “If you look at Trump’s picks for FCC, FDA, FERC, NLRB, there is a wave of deregulation that has been begun and will continue. That will be every bit as important to the economy as tax cuts.”