One of the key recommendations of AIM’s Blueprint for the Next Century is for Massachusetts to establish a world-class state regulatory system that ensures the welfare of society in a manner that meets the highest standards for efficiency, predictability, transparency and responsiveness.
The Baker administration took an important first step toward that objective last week when it imposed a temporary freeze on new state regulations until March 31. The ban underscores the governor’s determination to embark upon the kind of long-term regulatory reform he discussed at the November 14 AIM Executive Forum.
Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore was particularly encouraging in a memo to Cabinet secretaries. She said the administration's goal is to "modernize and simplify" state regulations "in a manner that enables rather than encumbers" the state's citizens.
"A regulation should be straightforward, effective, and no more burdensome than necessary to achieve its purpose," Lepore wrote. "No regulation should be adopted (or remain in place) unless it is easy to understand and meets a specific, discreet need."
AIM is develping a plan to provide Massachusetts with a world-class regulatory system. Our suggestions inlude:
- The governor should appoint an independent ombudsperson to review comments, suggestions and complaints from employers about ineffective state regulations and/or the manner in which those regulations are enforced. The ombudsperson would have the authority to determine which regulations and/or enforcement issues represent real impediments to growth and recommend changes to the Legislature or the executive branch.
- Encourage regulators and employers to adopt “smart partnerships” to ensure that government-business interactions solve problems instead of propping up bureaucracies.
- Engage willing employers who are global leaders in productivity and process improvement to streamline the operation of state government agencies. General Electric, an AIM member, provided just such a service for the New York State Highway Department at the request of Governor Andrew Cuomo. GE Capital used its expertise in lean process to help the Highway Department reduce the processing time for curb-cut requests from 70 days to three days.
We look forward to the debate and welcome the initial action by the new administration.