Monday, December 14, 2009

Red tape tied you up?

Bluffton Today

Two weeks ago in my column devoted to extolling the success we are enjoying with creating new jobs in Old Town Bluffton, I made a mistake. I inadvertently omitted the Choo Choo Barbeque from my recitation of great places to eat we now have in the neighborhood. These folks work hard and put out a good product and I apologize for the oversight.

In this same column, I introduced an idea that will play large in the next session of the General Assembly as we reconvene after the first of the year. That idea is to create a mechanism or a process to cut through the red tape that oftentimes seems to be binding, and in some cases choking, our entrepreneurial creativity.

The current thinking is we need a blue-ribbon commission to come up with ways to balance the regulatory obligations of the state with the need for a reasonably simple and coherent pathway for the small businessman to start and run a company. Much of the complexity at the local level is prompted by state regulation. If we can come up with ways to balance and streamline these processes, I know we can unlock job creation in the private sector.

I plan to work with Labor, Commerce, and Industry Committee, as well as Judiciary, to define the scope of what is possible in this endeavor. My sense is that once we start to simplify our regulatory and administrative processes, we will find that our state manpower needs will shrink somewhat and the private sector will expand.

As is often the case, I need your help. If there are any of you who have experienced instances where red tape has wasted your time or impeded the progress or profitability of your business, I want to hear about it. If you have been caught between two levels of government that have seemingly overlapping jurisdictions in the same matter, tell me about it. If you have run into a state constructed roadblock instead of a helpful person directing traffic, I want you to send me a short, concise narrative, preferably via email, explaining the particulars.

What I want to do is take your stories and use them as testimony as our red tape reduction initiative makes its way through the committee system. As always, the end point of this process, as far as I am concerned, is jobs. Part of making government smaller, more efficient, and less intrusive, is to constantly pare away the unnecessary or redundant functions. It is a difficult and frustrating exercise, but now is the time for us to begin. Let me hear your stories.

Last week, our contact count went from average, around 350, to more than 600. Many of those contacts were kind words and stories from veterans who appreciated the comparison between the attack on Pearl Harbor and the events of 9-11-01. One of the things about living more than a few years is that we are able to make the connections between the past and the momentary present.

For many of us, 9-11 was the end of our sense of security and invulnerability. In contrast, these older vets could see it in a larger and more complete context. They don’t call them the “greatest generation” for nothing.