Mississippi’s regulatory code is a massive body of laws with thousands of pages and about 8.9 million words. Unsurprisingly, such a large amount of rules has immense potential to burden Mississippians, inhibit economic growth, and continually increase the size of the government.
While it can be easy to get lost in the specifics of potential reforms, one basic proposal could help to simplify the deregulation process and put the state on a path to better and better reforms. This proposal would require that for every new regulation implemented by the state government, there would have to be two regulations removed.
While this is a seemingly simple proposal, the federal government applied this rule to federal regulations in the Trump Administration starting January of 2017. In turn, the federal government saw a relatively low amount of new regulations in the Trump administration. In January of 2021, President Biden repealed the rule. Thus, although the rule is no longer in effect on the federal level, states still have the opportunity to apply the rule in a state context.
Such prior success on the federal level suggests that an effective approach to deregulation is to recognize that business regulations do not occur in a vacuum. If a company does not have to deal with one specific regulation but faces burdens and obstacles from other regulations, the company may be in just as bad a position as it was before. Thus, while incremental deregulation is effective in some circumstances, the true way to see economic prosperity from deregulation is to implement broader reforms that do not just apply to a specific line of legal code.
Furthermore, while regulatory burdens can substantially affect businesses of all sizes, it is also important to note the particular burden that a strong regulatory environment can have in the Mississippi context. With a large percentage of small businesses, the weight of even one or two additional regulations could be just enough to tip the scales against many such businesses in the state. At the same time, having a regulatory model that proactively removes burdensome regulations could spell the difference between stagnation and growth for businesses across the state.
Using a one-in-two-out model, Mississippi could see a reduction in the total amount of regulatory burdens imposed on Mississippians. While the state has been effective at repealing many of the burdensome regulations, such a policy would help place a statutory cap on the amount of regulations. This is significant so that the state does not find itself incrementally growing the regulatory burden with every passing year of lawmaking.
The legislature should continue to take the lead on removing the regulatory burden in the state. While specific repeals of certain regulations can be an effective method of cutting down red tape, broader deregulation policies could make a real difference in the Magnolia State.