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Regulating ourselves into bankruptcy

POSTED October 9, 2009 10:49 p.m.
A study was quietly released last week by the governor that highlighted the absolute abuse that California families, small businesses and farmers are taking from over-regulation by bureaucrats in state government.
The study — which resulted from the passage of Assembly Bill 2330 written by Democrat Juan Arambula in 2006 — was completed and returned to the  Legislature showing once and for all the cost of state regulations on small business in California. It was written by two California State University, Sacramento professors who worked independently of the state.       
While studies have indicated in the past that regulation was killing California’s small businesses, this one actually  measured the impact. This study wipes out any doubt that this over-regulation is sending business out of state.   
We now have  the direct results of the damage that our out of control bureaucracy and regulations has done to our economy. The study took a look at the direct and indirect costs to the state economy as a whole, employment, state revenue, and  losses for small businesses. What they found is nothing short of startling.     
Nearly a third of the state’s entire $1.6 trillion economy is consumed by regulation either directly or indirectly, it said.  Direct costs of the regulation were $176 billion, causing job losses of nearly 4 million. If averaged over each small business in  California with 20 or fewer employees, the impact is over $38,000 per household or over $13,000 per resident.     
That’s money that could start a new business, hire a new worker or pay for a kid’s college tuition. While Californians  struggle to make a living or run a farm or small business, the fat cat bureaucrats continue to pile on and push businesses and  jobs to other states.   
Californians are victims of regulation strangulation. These bureaucracies are adding regulations and  taking money out of the sector of the economy that creates jobs to grow their bureaucracies and are crushing the entrepreneurial spirit that made California the Golden State and the foundation of the American economy.       
It’s time to unshackle our citizens and small businesses so they can once again create good paying jobs and get our  nation’s economy moving forward again. By reining in these bureaucrats and regulations, we can give more freedom and  opportunity to our people.     
There are logical and practical solutions. We can place all revenues from fees and fines that mini-governments like the  California Air Resources Board and the Department of Water Resources levy into the state general fund. This makes these  boards and commissions accountable to the legislature and minimizes the conflict of interest that now exists with bureaucrats taking money from the private sector to increase their own budgets, salaries and staffs.     
Each regulation could have a sun-set or time frame that it is enacted before it expires. This would allow the legislature to review the costs and impacts of these regulations and decide whether to renew them if they work or to get rid of them if they don’t.      
Legislation is needed to require reports on each new regulation much like the California Environmental Quality Act requires for each building project. We need to know the impacts these regulations and bills have before they are  enacted.   
Maybe if we start regulating the bureaucrats they will understand how irrational and damaging they have been to our  economy.    
A comprehensive review of state regulations now needs to take place to decide what needs to stay and what needs to go. We need to keep jobs and businesses in California. If we take a stand and take on the bureaucrats that are killing jobs and freedom from our citizens we can lead America out of this recession and open new opportunity for our citizens. The full study is available online at http://sba.ca.gov/Cost%20of%20Regulation%20Study%20%20Final.pdf    
— Assemblyman Bill Berryhill, R-Ceres, represents the 26th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Ceres, Denair, Escalon, Linden, Lockeford, Manteca, Modesto, Ripon, Stockton and Turlock.  

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