Why Arizona’s Regulatory Moratorium is Unnecessary

April 20, 2014

This GCI report examines the number of regulations approved for executive agencies, boards and commissions during a twelve year period, 2000-2012, within the context of the state’s larger economy.  Environmental regulations are analyzed particularly for their identified costs. Consistent with the literature, approved regulations appear to have little, if any, effect on aggregate employment and jobs; many of the approved regulations were requested by business. Other rules focused on streamlining processes, reducing the time required to secure permits, and adding flexibility to regulatory programs.  Moreover, the final four years of the study include the results of the Brewer Administration’s moratorium on agencies promulgating regulations, where very few regulations were approved, yet Arizona experienced the most costly environmental regulation of the study period. The policy brief concludes that regulations can be compatible with employment growth, and there is no economic reason to impose a moratorium. The regulatory state is both critically necessary and imperfect. The aim of our discourse should be neither to demonize nor discredit, but improve it. The report identifies three solutions to improve Arizona’s regulatory practice that will help ensure sensible, cost-sensitive, transparent regulation, a far better public policy for the state than moratorium.

Policy Improvement #1: End the moratorium on regulations. It discourages state agencies from updating current rules that mirror today’s and tomorrow’s requirements for protecting people, places and products.

Policy Improvement #2: Overall, the economic assessments of environmental regulations are uneven and could be improved by increasing efforts to secure specific data from both affected businesses on the cost side and affected communities on the benefits side.

Policy Improvement #3: Shining the light on agency regulatory requirements is crucial for citizen understanding. Legislative exemptions from the process should be directed at immediate regulatory needs.  Efforts to engage citizens need to be enhanced.