Gov. Tate Reeves said one of his top priorities as governor will be cutting red tape during his first State of the State address tonight.

“Often, the most impactful thing that we can do at this building is get out of the way and allow innovators to thrive,” Reeves said. “That is why one of my priorities will be cutting red tape. We are assembling a team that is committed to ensuring that the people of Mississippi are never held back by cumbersome government. Regulations and processes that may have been well-intentioned, often serve only to slow our state down. We are going to fix that.”

Mississippi has more than 117,000 regulations on the books. These regulations lead to higher costs for consumers, while having a detrimental effect on economic growth. 

We now have a history of empirical data on the relationship between regulations and economic growth. A 2013 study in the Journal of Economic Growth estimates that federal regulations have slowed the U.S. growth rate by 2 percentage points a year, going back to 1949. A recent study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University estimates that federal regulations have slowed growth by 0.8 percent since 1980. If we had imposed a cap on regulations in 1980, the economy would be $4 trillion larger, or about $13,000 per person. Real numbers, and real money, indeed. 

“If you are being held back by some unnecessary government rule or process, we will provide an easy way for you to let us know,” Reeves added. “And whenever we can take action, we will do so quickly. We will have a bias towards action. We will listen to the people of Mississippi and clean up our codes to put them first.

“And there’s no question, much of the red tape in government is the result of well-intentioned, but now outdated actions. But do not fool yourself: there are many who use regulation to protect themselves from competition. That must end.”

Mississippi licenses 66 low-and-middle income occupations. This includes everything from a shampooer, who must receive 1,500 clock hours of education, to a fire alarm installer, who must pay over $1,000 in fees.

According to a recent report from the Institute for Justice, Mississippi has lost 13,000 jobs because of occupational licensing and the state has suffered an economic value loss of $37 million.

“We must make it easier for everyone to earn money in Mississippi,” Reeves continued. “That means eliminating those unfair regulations that keep people from getting licenses to work. We must make it simpler for anyone to thrive in our state. As governor, I plan to take a hard look at all of the regulations on the books that make it harder for people to live and work here. If you want to make a living in Mississippi, we want to make it easy for you to live in Mississippi. 

“That will be a focus of our administration.”