Virginia's Red Tape Reduction Act Will Eliminate Harmful Regulations And Boost The Local Economy

| JAN 6, 2017 | 9:08 PM
 IJR Opinion is an opinion platform and any opinions or information put forth by contributors are exclusive to them and do not represent the views of IJR.

It is no secret that Virginia’s economy is struggling. Once ranked as a top state to do business with a thriving economy, the state’s GDP has all but halted after only growing 1.4% last year. One leading cause of this sluggish growth can be attributed to Virginia's burdensome regulatory environment.

Federal Regulations have long been a drain on business owners and citizens across America. According to a study published earlier this year by the Mercatus Center, it would take an ordinary person almost three years to read the entire Code of Federal Regulations.

Unfortunately, Virginia’s regulatory environment is not much better. After a quick glance at the list of Virginia’s Administrative Code, you can see that navigating the rules and regulations becomes a job in itself.

If we want to see the Virginia economy grow in 2017 and beyond, we must cut the red tape that is hindering businesses from growing and investing in the Virginia economy. That is why I, along with several of my colleagues, will be introducing the Red Tape Reduction Act in the 2017 General Assembly.

By passing the Red Tape Reduction Act, we can create a pro-growth environment that encourages businesses and individuals to invest in Virginia. The aim of this bill is to ensure that we are cutting, not increasing, the number of regulatory requirements that we place on individuals and businesses.

The Red Tape Reduction Act will cut overall regulatory requirements by 35%. Individual agencies will be tasked with compiling a list of all their regulatory requirements and establishing an agency baseline.

Once the overall regulatory requirements have been reduced by 35%, agencies will then be required to implement a one-for-one policy: for every new regulation the agency seeks to implement, they must eliminate an existing regulation.

However, until the overall regulatory baseline of 35% is reached, agencies – with extremely limited exceptions – will be required to repeal two regulatory requirements for every new regulatory requirement they introduce.

This Act presents an opportunity for individuals, businesses, and agencies to cut unnecessary and burdensome red tape. Agencies will be able to reduce senseless regulatory requirements that create more paperwork, businesses will be able to grow and invest in the economy with more freedom, and individuals will be able to pursue their professional development with fewer restrictions.

Most importantly, the Act will be implementing the Red Tape Reduction Commission. The purpose of the commission will be to review the state's regulatory requirements and provide recommendations on which regulatory requirements should be eliminated.

The commission will draw most recommendations from the citizens and business owners of Virginia. To jump start the process, we have partnered with Americans for Prosperity and created a website where you can go and submit your ideas for where you believe we should cut red tape.

Please visit us at and let us know which regulations are the most burdensome and unnecessary to you.

Thanks to our neighbors in the north, we have an example of how useful cutting red tape is to grow a sluggish economy.

In the early 1990s, British Columbia, Canada, was seeing its economy struggle. The growth rate was anemic, the job market was slowing, and its growth was lagging behind the rest of the country. While several factors led this under-performing economy, the main culprit for such a dismal growth rate was the red tape that the business owners of British Columbia faced.

Before enacting regulatory reform in 2001 that cut red tape across British Columbia, business owners were subject to a variety of regulations. Business owners had to consult the never-ending list of regulations before investing in the local community and growing the economy.

Some of the most onerous regulations included making sure restaurant televisions were a particular size, putting in a government-mandated number of par-four holes on a golf course, and a host of other burdensome requirements.

In 2001, the people of British Columbia elected new representatives who ran on a platform of cutting red tape and making it easier for businesses to invest in the local economy. By 2004, regulatory requirements in British Columbia had been reduced by 37%. Not only did this reduce a significant burden to business owners and individuals across the province, but it also resulted in significant economic growth and a booming economy.

Creating a more prosperous Virginia is a shared goal that transcends partisan politics, and reducing the regulatory burdens affecting all Virginians across the state is a step in the right direction. Let us work together in 2017 to cut red tape and grow the economy.