by Joseph Coletti
Senior Fellow, Fiscal Studies, John Locke Foundation
State governments can take a number of steps to help businesses start and expand. A new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts provides examples from across the country of how regulators have used online permitting portals to make applying for permits easier and faster, prioritized enforcement against frequent violators of regulations, and have even shifted their approach from enforcement actions such as fines to help companies comply with regulations. In North Carolina, the Department of Labor and the Wildlife Resource Commission have been particularly effective at prevention and compliance efforts and the Secretary of State has put together an online guide to forming a business. A couple particularly noteworthy examples from the report:
The [Iowa] DNR reduced the number of steps in the review process, overhauled the form to reduce mistakes, and set up a hotline staffed by engineers who could help firms calculate air pollution levels. Now, air permits that used to take two months to get approved take two weeks or less and still meet the same quality standards.
In 2015, the Arizona Government Transformation Office under Governor Doug Ducey (R) held a “permit blitz” to improve how dozens of permits were administered. It brought together officials from 23 agencies to work on 40 permit processes. At the end of the project, the office reported that the decision timelines for these permits were reduced by more than 60 percent on average.