State economic development officials say they are conducting a comprehensive analysis of business regulations and plan to recommend eliminating many of them in a report to Gov. Bill Haslam.
Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty told Middle Tennessee business executives Thursday his department’s report should be ready by the end of October.
“I want to be real clear,” Haslam said during a roundtable discussion at Hendersonville’s Bluegrass Yacht & Country Club. “We obviously have a stewardship responsibility in terms of issues around safety and health and long-term issues around the environment. But we also want to make certain that what we’re doing is not tying you up unnecessarily in a way that prevents you from creating jobs.”
When he took office in January, Haslam ordered a 45-day freeze in new state regulations while the administration reviewed the operations of state government, and he has consistently complained since then that government red tape is handcuffing businesses.
“The charge that the governor has given us is to improve the overall climate in our state to make it the best business climate of any state in the union,” Hagerty said.
“At the state level, I think we have a terrific appetite and the governor has the will and the ability to change any regulation that is in some way inefficient or ineffective in terms of accomplishing its overall objective.”
The governor said it’s too early to name specific regulations that he would target. But Hagerty said, “What we’re going to find, I’m sure, is that there are a number of regulations that are either redundant, outdated or the cost of undertaking the regulatory process doesn’t survive the cost-benefit analysis.”
Federal regulations are “perhaps most aggravating,” the commissioner said, promising to work with the Tennessee congressional delegation to help eliminate some of them.