In about six weeks, the state legislature will convene for the “short” session. With a conservative majority in place, the expectation is that the General Assembly will, among other things, continue streamlining and paring back government tentacles that blanket the many businesses that are trying to succeed, grow, and hire. I talked about this with the John Locke Foundation’s Becki Gray on a recent edition of Carolina Journal Radio.

Martinez: Becki, we know that last time around, last year, legislators also worked pretty extensively on some issues that were put under an umbrella called regulatory reform — a lot of things that have to do with rules businesses have to comply with, things that add to the cost of them doing business. Are you hearing or seeing that they’re going to revisit regulatory issues?

Gray: I think that regulatory issues and regulatory reform and getting regulations, getting government off the backs of businesses, is something that is going to be revisited and revisited and revisited until government is, quite frankly, off the backs of businesses. [Senate leader Phil] Berger has said that. I’ve heard this from legislators. I’ve heard this from the governor. So clearly, that is an ongoing effort. 

They have made tremendous strides in this. We’re hearing from the business community and a lot of the assessments of what does 2014 look like, what does the economic recovery look like: Business people cite over and over again the importance of regulation, the importance of getting regulations off the backs of businesses, having some certainty built into the regulatory system, and letting government be an incentive and encouragement to business, not an impediment to business. 

So, with periodic review of the rules, with some cost-benefit analysis being put into this, there’s some real movement forward. But we hear every day — and I know that the General Assembly and the governor [are] hearing the same thing — we hear different examples from different businesses. “You know, here’s a rule that has prohibited me from expanding my business.” So we’re going to continue to look at this. 

There are thousands and thousands of rules that are in place in North Carolina. We’re going to start looking at those now. There [are] going to be sunsets associated with new rules. So it’s a whole different regulatory framework, if you will, a real different way of looking at it. And yes, Donna, this is not a one-time fix; this is something that will continue as long as the conservative Republicans are in charge in North Carolina.