Let’s take a step back from the philosophical debate between Republicans and Democrats over the proper role of state government and consider a practical fact: State government has not had an actively engaged CEO in twelve years. As a Republican, saying this doesn’t come easy, but after over a decade of absentee leadership even Governor Hunt is beginning to look good.
As a businessman for 35 years, it’s hard to miss the problems created by the leadership vacuum at the top of state government. In some cases, entire state bureaucracies are running amok.
At the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) the bureaucrats have redefined their mission. Their job’s no longer to simply protect the environment – it’s to stop growth.
Over at the Department of Transportation (DOT) we have unelected bureaucrats brushing aside the ownership rights of citizens by taking private property without compensation.
In an interesting irony, we also have bureaucrats at DENR and DOT at odds with each other. DENR is telling DOT to incur millions of dollars in additional highway construction and maintenance cost. Of course, it all ends up being at the taxpayer’s expense.
The workers’ compensation insurance program is an example of something worse than over regulation. Like the examples above, there is the usual layer of rules raising the cost of business and sending jobs to other states and countries. But workers’ comp has an additional impact. Instead of only smothering business with excessive regulation, NC’s workers’ comp program uses a pattern of regulation that is so randomly enforced that only the honest businesses comply. Then, finding themselves with excessive and noncompetitive labor costs these businesses face two choices- Join those that skirt the law or close their business.
That’s all part of the price we pay for leaderless state government. While micro-managing the bureaucracy is not the role of the General Assembly, it is past time someone stood up for the taxpayers.
This much is clear: Our regulatory environment is out of control and we are paying a huge price – it’s choking business in North Carolina and costing us jobs. After twelve years without leadership at the top of NC government, with a faltering economy and massive job losses, now is the time to right the ship.