Reduce the red tape


From Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' in

The right of Rhode Island’s cities and towns to enact and enforce their own regulations in a multitude of  areas greatly adds to the red tape and cost of doing business in the state, what with its 39 cities and towns.

And so it was good to learn that the “State Mobile Food Establishment Registration Act” was recently enacted. It will standardize the business registration process for trucks or carts that sell food, ice cream or lemonade by creating a state mobile food establishment registration,  and would exempt such establishments from laws regulating peddlers.

Rhode Island’s multi-layered regulatory hurdles hinder business development. There are  too many requirements.  Consider that there are expensive licensing rules for hair braiders and sign-language  interpreters! Get rid of them.

A reason for such licensing is to prop up prices charged by what are effectively guilds by restricting supply. Special-interest restraint of trade!

And for activities in which the public interest really requires regulation: Lawmakers and the governors should  as much as possible unify and simplify regulations under state oversight after ascertaining that eliminating localities’ powers would not hurt the public. The localities are, after all, legal children of the state. The hotel and restaurant businesses, in particular, would be the sort of enterprises that would greatly benefit from having to adhere to fewer local regulations.

Obviously streamlining regulations will encourage more people to launch new businesses and expand existing ones.