Utah’s economy is one of the strongest in the nation. Just last week Forbes named Utah the best state for business for the third year. But in response to our success we are tasked with a difficult question: how can we make the best state for business even better?
The answer to this question doesn’t lie in broad policy decisions, but rather in the details.
Rules and Regulations
Our rules and regulations are the forgotten extension of the legislative process. When you think about rules, you may envision endless stacks of bureaucratic documents and jungles of red tape. In Utah that perception is misguided. Our elected officials have made tremendous strides in streamlining our rules. In 2011, for example, Governor Herbert tasked his administration to eliminate unnecessary business regulations and the state made changes to over 368 burdensome regulations.
The effect of these efforts is demonstrated by our renowned business climate. Despite this progress though, Utah must choose innovation over complacency.
We must continue to modernize Utah’s regulatory system to improve transparency, establish performance metrics and better quantify economic impact.
The Cost of Doing Business
The Salt Lake Chamber, in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, has released, the Cost of Doing Business: Improving Utah’s Evaluation on the Costs and Benefits of State Regulation.
The report outlines limitations within the existing rules process that show the state has significant room for improvement – particularly in the analysis of rules. The report reveals that less than 3% of rules in 2015 had a robust analysis performed on their potential cost. Even more astounding was that 46.58% of these contained a statement of hesitancy in evaluating the impact on business.
Without better analysis, we do not know how much Utah’s rules cost our economy.
Utah’s regulatory structure is becoming outdated as 21 states have adopted more robust analysis of their regulations. With every state subject to many of the same federal regulations, proactively addressing our state’s regulatory structure is necessary to retain Utah’s competitive edge – and its place as Forbes’ “Best State for Business.”