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North Carolina’s regulatory burden and the need for a state REINS Act

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A new, groundbreaking report from Beacon Hill economists estimated that in 2015 state regulations cost North Carolina’s economy at minimum $3.1 billion and possibly as much as $25.5 billion.

Year after year, those costs add up, leaving North Carolina communities, families, and individuals poorer and less well-off than they otherwise would be.

So there is much more to do to bring about a better, pro-family, pro-jobs regulatory environment in North Carolina. As the General Assembly recently passed sunset provisions and periodic review, attention should turn to sunrise provisions.

Right now in North Carolina, 99.9 percent of proposed new regulations end up taking effect:

(Click on the image for the full size.)

The need for a state REINS Act

Sunrise laws would help stop unnecessary new regulations before they start. A state REINS Act would be the key sunrise reform of regulation in North Carolina.

My new report on REINS for North Carolina explores the background on overregulation, surveys empirical findings on the costs of overregulation, and explains why REINS would help.

In brief, regulation is lawmaking power delegated from the legislature to unelected bureaucrats. Some rules, however, have major impacts on the economy — burdensome cost or price increases on consumers or significant harm on competition, employment, productivity, etc. Under REINS, such rules would need a joint resolution from the legislature allowing them to proceed.

With that change, REINS would restore constitutional, lawmaking power to elected representatives accountable to the people. It would keep regulators from overstepping their authority and cause legislators to be clearer and more direct in drafting laws that agencies must interpret.

For more information on REINS, consult my new report. It explores REINS in depth and explains how a state REINS Act for North Carolina should work.

Click here for the Rights & Regulation Update archive.

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Jon Sanders is an economist studying state regulations, that spreading kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. Serving as Senior Fellow of Regulatory Studies and also Research Editor at the John Locke Foundation, Jon gets in the weeds of all… ...

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