An oppressive regulatory regime that is hostile to creating jobs is holding back economic recovery in the state. Environmental rules and policies enforced by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality are especially effective in creating barriers to companies that would like to locate or expand in the state and create much needed jobs.
Much to their credit, legislators in the state have recognized the problem and passed legislation that begins to address the problem of an administrative state that is out of control. Legislation coming out of both chambers includes provisions that mandate that agency promulgated rules cannot be more stringent than federal regulations without the approval of the Legislature, which is something I suggested six years ago. The legislation also puts limits on the agency’s ability to circumvent the Michigan Administrative Procedure Act by using agency generated policy directives to regulate individuals and business. These bills are anything but radical and only provide for in law a commonly understood principal that elected officials should be making policy decisions and not unelected bureaucrats who are not accountable to voters. Other states have already passed similar legislation.
The House and Senate versions of the regulatory reform legislation were passed several months ago, but no action has been taken to reconcile the small differences in the bills. The legislation is sitting in limbo while the state unemployment rate is once again on the rise.
Gov. Snyder, whose political future is tied to economic recovery in the state, needs to embrace the effort to reform the regulatory bureaucracy and request that legislative leadership reconcile the bills and send them to him for signature. The stalling of this important reform effort calls into question the governor’s commitment to removing barriers to job creation in the state.