By State Senator Craig Estes, 04/23/13 – Americans are under constant assault by tens of thousands of federal bureaucrats armed with hundreds of thousands of pages of big-government regulations that control seemingly everything. This assault comes at a high price. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2011 that federal regulations cost the American economy $1.75 trillion per year. On top of that, President Obama issued 106 new major federal regulations in his first three years in office that have added more than $46 billion a year in new costs.
These regulations aren’t only impressive in their cost, but also their length. Take for example, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. When Obamacare passed three years ago, it was 2,700 pages. As if that wasn’t long enough, bureaucrats have since written more than 20,000 pages of regulations. If those pages were stacked up, they’d tower above seven feet tall and weigh more than 300 pounds.
The weight of these regulations and others like it, however, is much greater on job-creation, business investment, and economic growth. Back in 2011, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations forced the closure of several energy facilities here in Texas eliminating 500 jobs. That same year, the National Economic Research Associates (NERA) used the federal government’s own data to find that Obama’s proposed EPA regulations would cost America more than 180,000 jobs per year between 2013 and 2020.
This is all to say that in Texas we have to do something to defend ourselves from the regulatory assault being waged by President Obama and federal bureaucrats from Washington D.C. At the state-level, we have worked too hard creating a pro-business environment to stand idly by. It hasn’t always been easy to keep taxes low and regulations reasonable, but it has paid off. Low taxes and reasonable regulations is part of the reason why four Texas cities rank in Forbes magazine’s top-ten list of fastest growing cities. People want to live in Texas because we don’t tell them how to live. While Texas has done a good job, there is more we can do.
One area where we can do more is municipalities. Across Texas, city governments are setting a disturbing pattern of regulating businesses in ways never seen before. This is creating a patchwork of municipal regulations that is strangling small and medium-sized businesses that lack the army of attorneys needed to comply with the potentially hundreds of different ways to regulate the same thing. Jobs are killed and business don’t expand when valuable time and money is spent on figuring out how to comply with the different ways Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso and the many other cities across the state choose to regulate something. In some cases, uniformity trumps local control, this is especially so when uniformity is needed to create jobs and grow the economy. Cities should continue to govern themselves, but not at the expense of job-creation and economic growth.
This is why I filed Senate Bill 1466, prohibiting cities from adopting or enforcing ordinances on certain businesses already subject to state regulation. In many cases, if a business is already regulated by the state, they don’t need to be regulated by a city. To grow and create jobs, businesses need the regulatory predictability and stability provided by uniformity in the law across the state. Perhaps the best way to get the economy going again is for government to reduce red tape by prohibiting unnecessarily duplicative layers of harmful regulations. My bill, SB 1466, does just that. Simply put, because of what is happening in Washington D.C., Texas needs to do what it can to get government out of the way and let job creators do what they do best: create jobs! When that happens, American ingenuity and work ethic will take care of the rest. It always has.
Estes serves nearly 820,000 constituents across Senate District 30 which includes all of Archer, Clay, Cooke, Erath, Grayson, Jack, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Wichita, Wise, and Young counties and parts of Collin and Denton counties.
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