Gov targets unnecessary business regulations

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 6 2011 6:29 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — Getting rid of burdensome rules and regulations will create an even friendlier environment for business, Utah's governor said in signing a measure Tuesday that he believes will aid in Utah's long-term economic vitality.

Gov. Gary Herbert announced results of a report that eliminated or changed hundreds of rules, many of which have already been made or were scheduled to take effect in the coming months.

During his 2011 State of the State Address, the governor directed the members of his cabinet to review existing business regulations and determine which should be kept, which should be modified, and which should be eliminated altogether given their influence on businesses. Herbert said the goal was to retain those laws and regulations that both protected citizens, but did not hamstring Utah businesses.

The 62-page report detailed the changes that were made to 368 of the nearly 2,000 rules and state regulations.

"We have found that half of the rules and regulations that we have created in this state really do impact business," he said. "Some are outdated and were passed 20 years ago, but don't make sense today.

Herbert said the changes would enhance businesses ability to operate more efficiently and improve the already highly rated business climate in the state.

"We understand that the private sector creates wealth which creates jobs," Herbert said. "We want to see the entrepreneur be successful. We want to see businesses have a profitable bottom line because if they do that, they will hire more people."

Some of the changes will create easier interaction for the public with state government, the report stated. For example, the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing now allows licensees to retrieve renewal identification numbers online rather than by direct agency contact, thereby facilitating faster license renewals.

Another change allowed the state Commerce Dept. and Division of Consumer Protection to implement a new cyber-filing system so charitable organizations that plan to solicit funds can register online.

One of the changes cut red tape for companies who have employees that do not have bank accounts. The state Labor Commission modified a rule to allow employers to pay wages with debit cards, which reduces costs and inefficiencies associated with employee payrolls.

"There are some people that cannot or will not open a checking or savings account and therefore cannot be paid by direct deposit," explained Laurie Ryerson, accounting Manager at Conveyors and Equipment in Salt Lake City. "The pay card is the solution to paying these people.”

Herbert said that streamlining the regulatory environment will help Utah maintain its ranking as the most business-friendly state in the country.

"We've got a really good balanced system," Herbert said. "We've done it twice, we want to three-peat." 

You can view the full report here.

E-mail: jlee@desnews.com

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