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Regulatory Reset In Idaho

Summary:
My friend and former student Paul Gerner suggested to me a few years ago that the federal government have a “regulatory reset.” The idea is that the government eliminates all regulations and then brings back the one it decides it wants. Presumably we would end up with substantially fewer regulations. I loved the idea but it boggled my mind. How would that work? What would happen to certain industries and lots of people who depend on some degree of certainty in making their plans? And, of course, aside from the issue of how it would work, neither Paul nor I thought the federal government would ever do it. I still think that. But James Broughel, a senior research fellow with the Mercatus Center, points out that that’s exactly what Idaho’s state government has just

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My friend and former student Paul Gerner suggested to me a few years ago that the federal government have a “regulatory reset.” The idea is that the government eliminates all regulations and then brings back the one it decides it wants. Presumably we would end up with substantially fewer regulations.

I loved the idea but it boggled my mind. How would that work? What would happen to certain industries and lots of people who depend on some degree of certainty in making their plans? And, of course, aside from the issue of how it would work, neither Paul nor I thought the federal government would ever do it.

I still think that. But James Broughel, a senior research fellow with the Mercatus Center, points out that that’s exactly what Idaho’s state government has just done. He writes:

Something rather remarkable just happened in Idaho. The state legislature opted to—in essence—repeal the entire state regulatory code. The cause may have been dysfunction across legislative chambers, but the result is serendipitous. A new governor is presented with an unprecedented opportunity to repeal an outdated and burdensome regulatory code and replace it with a more streamlined and sensible set of rules. Other states should be paying close attention.

He continues:

Instead, the legislature wrapped up an acrimonious session in April without passing a rule-reauthorization bill. As a result, come July 1, some 8,200 pages of regulations containing 736 chapters of state rules will expire. Any rules the governor opts to keep will have to be implemented as emergency regulations, and the legislature will consider them anew when it returns next January.

Get out the popcorn. This will be interesting.

David Henderson
David Henderson is a British economist. He was the Head of the Economics and Statistics Department at the OECD in 1984–1992. Before that he worked as an academic economist in Britain, first at Oxford (Fellow of Lincoln College) and later at University College London (Professor of Economics, 1975–1983); as a British civil servant (first as an Economic Advisor in HM Treasury, and later as Chief Economist in the Ministry of Aviation); and as a staff member of the World Bank (1969–1975). In 1985 he gave the BBC Reith Lectures, which were published in the book Innocence and Design: The Influence of Economic Ideas on Policy (Blackwell, 1986).

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