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Tom Donohue: Attention States — Public Policy Matters

Regulatory burdens are impeding job creation and economic growth

Being part of the solution — not the problem — requires you to assess the facts, understand underlying trends, and offer innovative, commonsense proposals. That’s why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been doing a deep dive on how local, state and federal regulations are impeding job creation and economic growth. Our top three priorities are jobs, jobs and jobs — and a dramatically growing regulatory burden is holding us back.

Last week we examined how regulatory red tape and extreme local opposition were delaying hundreds of energy projects that could put millions of people back to work, boost the economy and meet the nation’s growing need for energy — and what could be done about it.

This week we focus on a new study that examines how labor and employment regulation is impacting states’ ability to create jobs and promote business startups.

The goal of our study, conducted by Seyfarth Shaw LLP and Navigant Economics, is to provide state policymakers with an objective view of how policies in their states stack up with those of others, and perhaps, more importantly, how reforms can accelerate economic growth. (Click here to see where your state ranks.)

The bottom line is not surprising: Reducing the burden of labor and employment regulation in the states could act as a free shot of economic stimulus.

States with the largest burden of labor and employment regulation are sacrificing opportunities to reduce their unemployment rates and generate new business startups. If all states were to improve their regulatory climates, the effect would be equivalent to a one-time boost of 746,462 net new jobs nationwide. Moreover, the rate of new business formation would increase 12 percent, resulting in 51,590 new firms nationally each year.

And by improving regulations, we don’t mean simply eliminating regulations. In this case, it is not necessarily about more or less regulation, but about smart regulation. It’s about making the right choices about what to regulate and how to regulate it. It’s about promoting policies that ensure worker rights and safety while allowing states to remain competitive and growth oriented.

The message to states is simple: Public policies matter when it comes to jobs, growth, and attracting new businesses and retaining existing ones. Smart governors and legislators are taking every available step to boost their economies, reduce regulatory burdens and strengthen the private sector, which creates almost all new jobs. Smart business organizations are providing them with the facts and ideas to help them on their way!

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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