Striving to Shrink the Red Tape for Companies

The Indiana Chamber hosted Congressman Todd Rokita (4th District) on Monday for the one-year anniversary of the Red Tape Rollback program. Rokita and the Chamber teamed together in the spring of 2011 to strive to identify and do something about unnecessary and overly burdensome federal regulations that kill jobs and negatively impact the economy.

In the initial 12 months, 71 Hoosier companies and individuals contacted the congressman’s office about 41 different regulatory issues. The work of Rokita and his staff has yielded 18 Red Tape Rollback victories thus far, with efforts continuing on other issues.

An annual report outlines the concerns and the accomplishments. It’s not too late for you to let us know about federal regulations and their impact on your business.

In case you’re not convinced there is a problem, consider that the most recent edition of the Code of Federal Regulations consists of more than 101 million words. That compares to just over 4,500 words in the U.S. Constitution.

Your Vote: Debt Committee Get to Work

We asked what your top priority was for Washington leaders to accomplish. You responded:

  • Debt reduction: 43%
  • Reform tax code: 26%
  • Less intrusive federal regulations: 14%
  • Long-term transportation bill: 6%

In the "other" category, several respondents liked each of the options and chose "all of the above." Others opted for "reduce unemplyment" and "stimulus bill."

With primary season just around the corner, and we mean that with the initial votes expected to come just three days into 2012, the new question asks you to choose your GOP favorite at this point. Cast your unofficial vote today — top right of this page.

It’s Simple: Quantify the Regulatory Costs

Clyde Wayne Crews isn’t the best public speaker in the world. I know that because we brought him in for an Indiana Chamber board meeting a few years ago. Oh, he knew his subject area — the world of federal regulations — but audience members weren’t thrilled by his presentation style.

The most important part of that opening paragraph was the phrase "he knew his subject area." Crews, a policy vice president with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, is right on target again with his latest writing as he takes Congress to task for the over-regulation that is threatening so many companies.

It might be easy to blame the agency regulators. But they’re only taking those steps because Congress is simply not doing its job. The partisan politics is preventing progress of any kind; then it becomes worse when our representatives abdicate their responsibility.

Crews writes:

“Ultimately, voters need the ability to hold Congress directly accountable for regulations by requiring congressional approval of new rules. Thus, legislation that will lead to costly agency rules regulating, say, lamp ballast energy efficiency may or may not make sense to a congressman who may have to vote directly to approve the accompanying costs.

“As Congress becomes more answerable for regulation, it will face greater incentives to ensure that benefits exceed costs as determined by independent analysis, rather than by agencies’ own estimates. Greater ongoing oversight might dampen the tendency to overregulate in the future, thus creating pressure for a ‘regulatory ceiling’ to parallel the fiscal debt ceiling. Regulation does not control itself, and agencies will not apply the brakes.We have to do it, through our elected representatives.”

Read more from Crews and access his full report.

Polls: Yes to Taxes; Top D.C. Priority?

A simple yes/no question generated a large response in the latest informal Indiana Chamber poll.

We asked: Should online retailers (on a national basis) be required to collect sales taxes? Your responses: 61% yes, 39% no.

It’s a complicated topic. As we’ve shared earlier, the Chamber’s Bill Waltz has written an excellent analysis that identifies some of the key issues as a national solution (not a state-by-state approach) is required.

Coming off the Chamber’s annual D.C. Fly-in, our new question asks: What is your top priority for Washington policy leaders to accomplish? The choices include reform tax code, debt reduction, less intrusive federal regulations, long-term transportation bill and other (you tell us).

Check out the top right column of this page to register your vote.