Compliance tool could make molehill out of mountain of Illinois regulations
Researchers at George Mason University's Mercatus Center have developed what they claim is a faster and easier method for poring through state and federal regulations.
The QuantGov tool is touted as making compliance much simpler for businesses and individuals.
According to researcher James Broughel, the project began at the national level and became something that the researchers believed would work well on the state level as well.
“That effort to quantify federal regulation has now spun off into other areas,” Broughel told the Sangamon Sun. “So, we have done work on state administrative codes and also on executive orders at the federal level and looking at the 'Federal Register,' which is a daily publication of regulatory activity.”
The group found 259,832 restrictions and more than 15 million words in the Illinois code, which researchers said would take an individual about 21 weeks to read. That's a major hindrance to businesses wanting to be in compliance, they argued.
“So far, of the eight states we have looked at, New York and Illinois have the most regulation,” Broughel said. “Missouri and Arizona -- Arizona by a long shot -- have the lowest level. Arizona has about 64,000 regulatory restrictions, and in its code. New York has about 308,000. That is a pretty big discrepancy.”
He said researchers had identified about 1.15 million restrictions in federal code.
Broughel explained that the group has been working on analyzing all the states, which they expect to have done by 2018. At that point, the plan to create an index to look at the effect the regulations have had on the economy.
“We will be able to establish trends across time over all the states,” he said.
While the project has not reached its full potential, Broughel said that Mercatus has done other research on regulations and economic growth at the federal level.
“They estimated, on average, regulations since 1980 have slowed U.S. economic growth by about 0.8 percentage points per year," Broughel said.
He also said a study from a few years ago put the rate at two percent.
“I would say there is not a ton of research in this area," Broughel said. "There should be more, but that seems to be the range.”