Opinion

The pitfalls of overregulation

A power plant in Manhattan Beach, shortly after its 2012 opening. (Photo: Luc Mena)

Recognizing the need to reduce the burdens of overregulation to spur our nation’s economy, Congress put on the top of their legislative agenda the REINS Act, which would require the House and Senate to approve any major regulation before it can go into effect.

California — no stranger to abundant regulations and the increasing consolidation of power in state agencies promulgating an ever-growing list of major regulations — must also rein in overregulation the way Congress is trying to do to revitalize job creation throughout our state.

The first bill I introduced on the first day of legislative session in the new year is AB 77, which requires major regulations with an economic cost impact of $50 million or greater, to be submitted to the Legislature for their review. With this common sense measure, the Legislature will have the opportunity to evaluate whether the cost of these proposed regulations are aligned with the intent of the law the Legislature passed.  If lawmakers deem the regulations to be too costly, they can pass a measure to prevent the proposed regulation from going into effect.

The Legislature’s climate change agenda will require new regulations on an unprecedented scale.

Over the years, the Legislature got into a habit of handing vast authority to unelected bureaucrats throughout the state to implement major policies.  As this trend continued, checks and balances became increasingly irrelevant, which has led to real world consequences that have impacted the every day lives of Californians. The cost of food, energy, housing, and transportation is higher in this state due to the policies coming out of Legislature and the expensive regulations that are being implemented by state agencies.

This trend continued to show itself just last session with the passage of SB 32–legislation that opens the door for potentially draconian climate change measures that harm hard working families and small businesses throughout California.  The bill provided all authority to a single state agency to develop and implement all regulations required to meet a GHG reductions target that does not have to take into account the economic impact of its actions.

If lawmakers are going to continue down this path, we need a regulatory process that ensures transparency and accountability to protect small businesses and lower-income families that can least afford the higher costs of energy and transportation.

The Legislature’s climate change agenda will require new regulations on an unprecedented scale, which can go into effect without an economic study to evaluate the real world impact of these new rules.  As a result, Californians will continue to pay even more for food, energy, housing, and transportation—approximately $3,000 more per household annually.  California, already facing a severe housing problem, may see an additional $45,000 to the cost of an average home, which further burdens the housing crisis.

We need a better regulatory climate that works for all Californians.  California’s economy has not worked for blue-collar and middle class workers particularly in the Inland and Valley communities.  AB 77 will provide greater checks and balances so that elected policymakers in the Legislature can referee and stop regulations that will have unduly burdensome impact on families and businesses. Prosperity does not come from government regulations, but from the hard work of every day Californians.

The Legislature plays a fundamental role by providing oversight and accountability to regulatory agencies. I encourage my colleagues to embrace this important measure, which will allow us to improve the state’s regulatory climate and to make California a welcoming and prosperous state for all.

Ed’s Note: Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield, represents California’s 34th Assembly District and is the Assembly Republican Whip.


Support for Capitol Weekly is Provided by: