Senator Griffo's Weekly Column #20: Reducing Red Tape

Red tape: If you talk to most business owners about their impediments to growth, they’ll give you an earful about the countless hours they spend filling out forms for the government.

Now, not all regulations are bad. We’ve got well designed and well implemented rules that provide more benefits than costs, including ones that ensure our health and safety.

However, New York does not need 750,000 regulations. Businesses are spending $274 billion every year to comply with all these rules. That’s money much better spent on developing new product lines, expanding facilities or hiring additional workers.

The Senate recognized National Small Business Week by passing a trio of bills designed to make better regulations, give regulated businesses more flexibility and to assess potential negative consequences on job growth while rules are being developed.

These bills are the result of the Majority Coalition’s nine forums last fall regarding regulatory reform. Each forum focused on a specific industry: health care, agriculture, manufacturing, small business and tourism, to name a few.

In the end, the team identified 2,219 specific rules and regulations that they believed put New York at a competitive disadvantage when attracting and retaining jobs. In fact, they believe eliminating just one percent of the total regulatory burden could create 20,000 new private sector jobs – all without negatively impacting the public.

I appreciated the effort of my colleagues, because it reflects my own commitment to lessening the burden on business. I’ve re-introduced a bill, S.5519A, which would establish a task force to review rules, regulations and public authorities once every decade. This group would have the power to repeal any unnecessary rule or regulation, subject to legislative oversight.

I’m pleased my bill received overwhelming, bipartisan support when passing the Senate last year.

The Assembly did not consider my bill for a vote, but I believe they should have. After all, it was Governor Cuomo who, this year, lamented “years of discussion in state government with no action” on regulatory reform. He also suggested the Executive and the Legislature should work together to “address this impediment to economic growth.”

My bill can make that a reality. It would build on the progress we made this past week and send a clear message to companies here: We’ve heard you. And we’re taking your concerns seriously, as we work to make New York a more attractive place to do business.