By Lt. Governor Mary Taylor
When Avon Mayor Jim Smith read an article about the launch of CSI Ohio: The Common Sense Initiative in January, he sat down and drafted a letter to me. Smith’s letter detailed a problem that was keeping a local small business from being competitive, growing and possibly adding more jobs in Lorain County.
Custom Culinary, a local food manufacturer, was being bogged down by a senseless government regulation that prohibited it from purchasing bulk quantities of alcohol for the production of soups, sauces and purees. For one recipe, some of the company’s 39 employees had to pour 140,000 pounds of wine into a vat of sauce one bottle at a time. The process was time consuming, costly and kept the business at a competitive disadvantage. It took just three days for CSI Ohio to identify a common sense legislative solution to Custom Culinary’s problem, something Mayor Smith had pleaded with others for years to fix.
Gov. John R. Kasich and I developed CSI Ohio to do exactly what it did for Custom Culinary: solve problems. Since it was launched on January 10th, CSI Ohio has been busy developing a process to hold state government accountable for implementing business regulations that incorporate the principles of transparency, consistency, predictability, flexibility and balance. As agencies develop new regulations and review existing ones, CSI Ohio will require them to analyze the regulation’s impact to business. The questions we are asking include the following: What are you trying to accomplish through the regulation? How will you know if it’s been successful? What types of businesses are impacted and how much will it cost Ohio’s job creators?
The state’s new rule review program is off to a productive start. Agencies are pulling back regulations that don’t meet the common sense test. They are identifying alternative regulations that are just as effective but have less impact on business and job creation. And perhaps most important, they are bringing stakeholders and interested parties into the process of developing regulations, not just commenting after the fact.
For example, in March, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio rescinded administrative rules that would have applied the same standards meant for cross-country semi-truck drivers to small business owners (such as landscapers, builders and event supply companies) with vehicles between 10,001 and 26,000 pounds. In April, the Ohio Optometry Board withdrew a rule that would have changed the terms of contracts between licensed optometrists and retail stores for providing eye care services. And more recently, CSI Ohio worked with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to complete the delivery of a long-awaited package of general permits that had lingered at the agency for the past ten years.
We most certainly have our work cut out for us as we move forward and begin to see tangible results, but we need your help as well. Feel free to contact us via email at CSIOhio@governor.ohio.gov or visit us online at http://www.governor.ohio.gov/csi to get routine updates and to let us know about senseless government rules or regulations standing in the way of job creation.
Mary Taylor is Ohio’s 65th Lieutenant Governor. She was sworn into office on January 10, 2011, the same day Governor John R. Kasich named her to lead CSI Ohio: The Common Sense Initiative to reform Ohio’s regulatory policies, and serve as the director of the Ohio Department of Insurance.