In a big win for Ohio taxpayers and businesses, the House gave final passage to Senate Bill 9 (SB 9) on Wednesday. The bill is on its way to Governor DeWine’s desk.
The legislation’s chief policy calls on state agencies to reduce the regulatory burden by 30%. Lead sponsors Senator Rob McColley and Senator Kristina Roegner deserve praise, as does leadership for getting this legislation over the finish line, finally.
A 2015 Pacific Research Institute analysis of the best state regulatory environments for small business showed Ohio at a mediocre 27th, meanwhile neighboring Indiana is a sterling first place. Out of 47 available states on QuantGov, Ohio ranks ahead of Illinois, behind only California and New York, for number of regulations.
Clearly, over-regulation is a problem for Ohio, and the legislature has been hard at work addressing the issue. Last session, the legislature approved a “one-in, two-out” rule that requires the state eliminate two old regulations for any new regulation added. Now, SB 9 follows up by strengthening the “one-in, two-out” rule and with a broad reduction in the overall regulatory burden.
Americans for Tax Reform and Ohioans for Tax Reform have testified in support of the bill.
The bill responsibly reduces regulations with a review process, where agencies pursue the 30% reduction goal, but if they cannot cut the required number of regulations, they have the opportunity to present their case to the legislature.
Ohio has struggled with lagging wage growth, and an inability to grow the population and retain younger workers.
Like taxes, regulatory burdens add costs for businesses, consumers, and taxpayers. By inflicting costs on the economy, regulation can limit growth and opportunity. It is also unacceptable when the regulation in question is not vital to protecting Ohioans, but is in fact duplicative, or fails to follow legislative intent, or exceeds the authority of the regulator.
SB 9 will help make Ohio a more welcoming place for businesses and workers, and an easier place to start a new business or project. It is a huge step toward a leaner, meaner Ohio that can more effectively compete with other states.