Clearing the way for Georgia’s businesses to flourish

Joblessness in Georgia last month fell to its lowest level since May 2009, but don’t expect a drop-off in job-creation proposals under the Gold Dome. There’s little to celebrate about an unemployment rate of 9.7 percent.

Tax reform and attracting venture capital to the state are among the efforts to boost employment that have gotten the most ink. If Speaker David Ralston gets his way, another item is about to join them atop the agenda.

“One of the things I’ve heard a lot over the past year,” Ralston told me in an interview Thursday, “is small-business owners who tell me they’re struggling under some of the rules and regulations state government puts on them, and that that is a hindrance to attracting jobs and keeping jobs. …

“I know some of them [regulations] are reasonable and are in the public interest, but some of them are pretty far afield.”

As an example of a reason to keep some regulations, he cited the fish kill last May in the Ogeechee River. A textile mill in Screven County was fined $1 million for violations, including the release of prohibited chemicals into the river, (albeit not without controversy over whether King American Finishing Inc. got off too lightly).

“We’ve got some legislative things that are important to protect us from repeat performances of that kind of tragedy,” Ralston said. “But I want to know if our regulatory system is unduly burdening small businesses.”

Ralston said he personally had heard of several regulations that might warrant scrutiny, affecting efforts ranging from “a guy in North Georgia trying to make yogurt” to “people trying to open bed-and-breakfasts in the mountains.”

But he wants the House’s special committee on small business development to cast a broader net than the anecdotes he’s heard while traveling the state, inviting small-business owners and industry reps to make their cases. The goal will be to recommend not only the repeal of some rules — as soon as this session if possible — but a new “way of testing [prospective regulations] going forward.”

Do not, however, take Ralston’s lack of specificity as a sign this effort takes a low priority. The speaker recalls attending just two committee meetings in the two-plus years since he took the gavel; he intends to be present for this week’s first hearing about regulatory reform.

Listening to Ralston speak, I was struck with a memory from a previous life.

While I was living in Brussels, the Belgian government undertook a de-cluttering of red tape that drew thousands of suggestions from citizens. In four years, the “Kafka committee” — named for the Czech author who wrote powerfully of the powerlessness of the individual against impenetrable bureaucracy — eliminated or simplified more than 200 unnecessarily burdensome laws.

The administrative costs to businesses alone were cut by an estimated 25 percent, some $2.2 billion.

Belgium has a somewhat larger population and economy than Georgia, and I expect the red tape was (and likely remains) much worse over there. Still, if lawmakers could save our businesses even half as much through a similar exercise, it would be one of the largest — and most cost effective — economic development plans they could pass.

So, to Georgia’s lawmakers, let me say something that, with the exceptions of making beer and chocolate, I don’t get to say very often: Do as the Belgians do. Go Kafka.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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177 comments Add your comment

ByteMe

January 20th, 2012
5:53 pm

Color me skeptical that legislators who can accept unlimited “gifts” (read: bribes) from lobbyists will do what’s right for “small businesses” in Georgia.

Road Scholar

January 20th, 2012
6:03 pm

You European Socialist Kyle! Just thought that I’d get that out of the way!

Yes we do need to examine our laws and regulations, but put aside the whining and EXAMINE the issues and decide what is best for all Georgians. Don’t just interview those you agree with. They can start with a strong ethics policy for our elected officials. They can continue to remove all selective tax breaks for individual groups. They can simplify our tax code and set standards for ensuring all pay, including the people and the businesses.

A friend showed me that in Taiwan all sales must have an official reciept for both the business and for the buyer/seller.This record is used to ensure businesses pay all the taxes they collect. The record ensures to the public that the sale is recorded and accurate.

Back in the 80’s, the gas tax was reestablished to be paid by the fuel distributor, not the gas stations or convenience stores. Why? Because many businesses were not paying to the state the taxes they collected on their sales. There are a huge number of retailers, but just a few, in comparison, wholesalers. This seems to provide the checks and balances it takes to keep people honest.
Oh the uncertainty, Oh the regulations!

Mr_B

January 20th, 2012
6:14 pm

I’m curious, Kyle. Would you provide an example of “restrictive” state regulation from which business needs to be unshackled? I am not claiming that these don’t exist. I’m just wondering which you would get rid of.

getalife

January 20th, 2012
6:40 pm

The same ole tax cuts and no regulation failed ideology.

Shocking.

Streetracer

January 20th, 2012
8:07 pm

Mr_B @ 6:14

I’ll give you a few examples. Licensing requirements for various building trades. These requirements do nothing to insure quality work, or to indemnify the purcher of the service. They are designed to maintain the status quo. Passing a test doesn’t make a dishonest person more honest, or a sloppy workman less sloppy.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

January 20th, 2012
9:08 pm

It’s rather obvious that goony socialism isn’t going to create any jobs.

Unless, of course, you don’t count all of the jobless, a tactic I believe Pol Pot refined.

Time to try something totally………….proven.

Can you say Capitalism, stooges?

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

January 20th, 2012
9:10 pm

If obozo were a mass murderer, and give him time, he will point out that 150 million lived, or were created, versus the 200 million he killed.

And the halfwits would be like, Wow, isn’t he great!

GodHatesTrash, Superstar

January 20th, 2012
9:33 pm

Curly’s in the sauce tonite… what a silly stooge.

Dusty

January 20th, 2012
9:37 pm

I learn somethng here every day, Kyle. You mentioned Kafka as a notable writer.

After I read his “Metamorphosis” where his main character turned into a giant insect and went crawling around, I wasn’t too charmed. (Nut case!) Guess I did not read enough.

Anyway, if the Kafka way worked in Belgian and there was a big cut in business regulations, it sounds like a good thing. Next time you are down town, pass the word. Somebody needs to tell ‘em down at the Gold Dome.

Dusty

January 20th, 2012
9:44 pm

Belgian! Belgium! Kyle, if you still have some of those chocolates, how ’bout passing them around to your faithful bloggers? We’ve been good!! (Well, most of us!)

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

January 20th, 2012
10:00 pm

Business and hiring will flourish after Americans take back their country from the Democrat vermin in our White House and Senate.

Linda

January 20th, 2012
10:07 pm

Brunn hung himself with his sweatshirt yesterday after admitting he sexually molested & brutally murdered an innocent, precious little girl, a crime for which he received a life sentence without the possibility of parole. That’s what you call suicide.

The fed. govt. & state govts. choke businesses & the economy with EXCESSIVE regulations. That’s what you call murder.

GodHatesTrash, Superstar

January 20th, 2012
10:15 pm

Looks like Kyle’s Kavalcade of Konservative Krazies are out in force tonite – and all as incoherent as ever.

Bart Abel

January 20th, 2012
10:18 pm

I’m all for it. But what is Ralston’s plan for education, water, and transportation? And how many jobs is this European model for regulatory reform going to add? How many jobs did it create in Belgium?

alinegrady

January 21st, 2012
4:42 am

I have been a student at one of the High Speed Universities online since August 2009 and it has been an answer to my prayers. Their assessments and papers are NO easy task, so for those who say online schools are “dummed down” are highly mistaken.

Michael H. Smith

January 21st, 2012
7:55 am

The Federal Government is where regulation reform is needed the most. However, government regulations of any kind should come under review from time to time and judged based on a cost/effect bases to determine current worthiness. If a long standing regulation no longer meets the worthiness test then it should be eliminated. Needless to say Georgia does have a few regulations that should come under review particularly any that protect markets for big business or big corporation against any potential small start up companies. If a regulation proves to be anti-competitive to the liberated market principle of vital to the promotion and maintenance of capitalism then it too should be eliminated.

One such area of regulation the state might want to review is the monopoly government has over public education funding. Another area is cable television. In other areas the state should challenge some of the Big Socialist Federal regulations even beyond obumerCare.

It is high past time the state government stood up to the Federal Government in taking back the rights they were specifically granted by the authority of the Constitution to them and the people which is furthermore protected by amendment. The Tenth Amendment wasn’t written because James Madison couldn’t figure out something better to do with the remaining ink and paper he had after writing the Ninth Amendment during the Constitutional Convention. Nor, did Madison have so much time on his hands that he thought nothing better was worth doing than writing the Federalist Papers numbers 41 and 45 to clarify the exact meaning of the enumerated powers in commerce clause that STRICTLY LIMITED the hand of Congress in regulating the economy whereby it was intended that the States, not the Federal Government, were to enjoy and exercise the near unlimited powers to regulate.

I’d rather welcome the States finally doing whatever it takes to regain their stolen rights and I have no problems drastically amending the constitution to remove any and all doubts as to what any part of it means, thereby eliminating the need of court interpretations.

carlosgvv

January 21st, 2012
8:34 am

Unfortunately, the goal of the Republicans is to eleminate ALL regulations and return us to those glorious laissez-faire days of the robber barons. Sadly few, if any of you “compassionate conservatives” here can lose your blinders and see the Republicans for what they really are.

DeborahinAthens

January 21st, 2012
8:42 am

As a business woman I am all for as little regulation as possible. But greed is the core of capitalism. It is what supplies the energy for people to risk everything to start a business. But, having worked in the financial services industry for 26 years, seeing what happened to a wonderful company when Glass-Stegall was repealed, I think there has to be a way to protect citizens from unbridled greed. Unfortunately, it is the capitalist’s nature to taked advantage of every opportunity that you are given to make a buck. If some poor sap loses their life savings, so be it. The energy industry lavished money on Dubya the Dumb and Cheney, who help put into place the very de-regulation of energy that enabled Enron to start selling energy in different states. When electricity became a commodity to be sold an profited from, we had incidences like what occurred in California. Southern Company created Mirant. We all know how badly these ended. If Glass-Stegall had not been repealed we could never have had the 2008 meltdown, because companies like Lehman and Goldman Sachs could not have been creating investments that they created out of garbage to sell to individuals and other companies. One other point about greed, taxes and the impact on the stock markets. When the capital gains taxes were higher we had much less volatility in the stock market. This is a fact. I have to think that the reason for that is this…if you know you’re going to give the IRS half of your profit, you will be less inclined to be a day trader. Higher capital gains taxes encourages long term investment. One can see this clearly if on imposes the graph of capital gains tax rates over the VIX past performance. My point is that there at explicit regulations and other ways to regulate markets. Having said allllllllof this, seeing how the dredging of the ports on the East coast has been stymied by BS makes me want to puke.

Michael H. Smith

January 21st, 2012
9:00 am

Unfortunately some would-be Marxist fascist communist, like carlosgvv, that don’t know by using the term “laissez-faire” what they are actually describing is“Liberal” Libertarians.

Every Conservative that is a Conservative strongly supports a limited federal government and its limited rights to regulate the areas and only those specific areas listed in enumerated powers, we are not anarchist.

Michael H. Smith

January 21st, 2012
9:09 am

DeborahinAthens,

Your real complaint if you are honest about it is the “deregulation of fraud” that took place in the markets. When fraud is made legal no regulation are amount of regulation will do any good. Greed is human nature, repeal Glass-Stegall or not, separating banking from investments or not, is all meaningless unless fraud is policed and made a punishable crime once again.

GT

January 21st, 2012
9:09 am

Small business is the answer to a recovery. I couldn’t agree more on the path of least resistance. I know in one of my businesses, I was told yesterday that a state inspection of a boiler will take us longer to pass than putting the boiler in and having it functioning and we couldn’t order the inspection till after the boiler was finished and functioning. We are down as a factory until this inspection is made, and we have a deadline to meet a sizable contract hanging in the balance.

Let say our competitor hears of our predicament, the one we just took all this business from. They have a strong lobby at the state house, they are a large public corporation, a lot more money than we have. Suddenly the inspector gets lost several times or just is “too busy” to make it down to south Georgia to make our inspection. We could be in a lot of trouble, of course we have thought of this and have contingent plans, that will lose us 100s of thousands of dollars,but why do we have to make state government part of our risk factor?

In the 90s we has a business that needed funds from Wall Street. Our competition here again was very large and we were very small. We had a unique product and had a huge retailer contracted to buy the product. Our competition lobby the Treasure Department, who stalled on how to tax the returns of this product to our investors, who could not invest until they knew exactly how their income was being treated by the IRS. We never got the product to market lost millions, and worse in my opinion the public never got the opportunity to buy a product that was superior to what was currently on the market, made by the lobby that kept us out of the business.

Big government is not the problem in this country, big business is. The state or the federal governments actually start wanting to do the right thing. The evil comes when a outside influence corrupts the process usually for their own personal gain. Small businesses are hurt and ideas that would improve our lives are buried as big business campaigns for their inefficient products that exist only because of their size and the corrupt influence the “too big to fail companies” have on the government. Watch the PR campaign in the gulf by BP and they would have you think they had absolutely no contribution to the disaster of oil on the beaches but were good citizens just trying to help. Truth is BP is located in England, the man that runs it was on a yacht the weekend of the accident making the point very clear his lack of concern for this community and its problems.

carlosgvv

January 21st, 2012
9:11 am

Michael H. Smith

Your ignorance is beyond belief. Of course I know that Libertarians are very conservative and support a very limited Govt. Ron Paul is a Libertarian. If you knew anything about American history, you would know the robber barons wanted NO Govt. regulations on business at all. They were not Libertarians.

Michael H. Smith

January 21st, 2012
9:18 am

carlosgvv, you poor pathetic neophyte go educate yourself on the differences between Conservatives and Libertarians, the two political groups are not one and the same.

Michael H. Smith

January 21st, 2012
9:23 am

In the 90s we has a business that needed funds from Wall Street. Our competition here again was very large and we were very small. We had a unique product and had a huge retailer contracted to buy the product. Our competition lobby the Treasure Department, who stalled on how to tax the returns of this product to our investors, who could not invest until they knew exactly how their income was being treated by the IRS. We never got the product to market lost millions, and worse in my opinion the public never got the opportunity to buy a product that was superior to what was currently on the market, made by the lobby that kept us out of the business.

Thank you for underscoring what I’ve pointed out previously concerning the myth that big business wants to get rid of every regulation written. As the above part of your comment correctly points out many regulations big business actually put in place for the very reasons you made clearly known – To kill small business competition.

Michael H. Smith

January 21st, 2012
9:29 am

Big government is not the problem in this country, big business is.

Unfortunately the real problem is that too often these two groups are one and the same. As it has been pointed out, there is a revolving door that exist between a corporate management office to a government regulators office.

@@

January 21st, 2012
10:08 am

Why punish all for the sins of a few? Must be the collective thingy.

GT

January 21st, 2012
10:09 am

Michael H. Smith, good point. Also good point on Libertarians being different from conservatives. I find the problem with Libertarians is they, as all of us do, but not so boldly, misrepresent history in their augments. It is a little like the Mormon bible.

zeke

January 21st, 2012
10:18 am

Absolutely! The governments have got to get out of the way!! Especially the federal leftist morons!!

DeborahinAthens

January 21st, 2012
11:35 am

GT, why, oh why the comment about the Morman Bible? The judeo-Christian Bible is, in the Old Testement, almost a carbon copy of a many thousand year old fable, “Gilgamesh”. So, please don’t start throwing stones. Millions of people in the world think the Bible is a quaint collections of stories. Definitely not history. Maybe a philosophy. Percentage wise, very few people believe it to be history. Especially the part about the Earth being only 6000 years old. Why disrupt a good discussion with this?

Dusty

January 21st, 2012
12:36 pm

DeborahinAthens.

Your brush off of the Christian Bible is a bit hasty. It is a history of Christian faith from the prelude to the days following the resurrection and how it spread around the known world. But the Bible is also considered the finest literature in the world, an honor at which we do not scoff. It has been treasured through the centuries.

As to statistics, there are two billion Christians in the world today. Eighty five percent of Americans are Christian. The Bible is part of their faith and only a few Christians try to use it as a science textbook.

I’m sorry you haven’t enjoyed the Bible thinking it is “quaint, a carbon copy”, etc. You are simply downgrading an inspiring and inspired book enjoyed by billions. Perhaps you should not dismiss it so lightly, even though it may seem the politically correct thing to do.

Dusty

January 21st, 2012
12:50 pm

Does anybody remember the history of how this country grew and grew after the Revolutiion and they did it without regulations? They did it with hard work and good management and personal integrity and the great joy of independence..

We still have independence in name but regulations eat away at that freedom.

I don’t think we can do without some regulations as we are a very large group of humans who do not always do the right thing. But regulations should not dominate the freedom of makiing your own decisions. We cannot grow or flourish under a rock, i.e. overbearing and stifling regulations.

Conservatives yearn for the return of freedom. The liberal yearns for direction from others for services and support. Therefore the big difference.

I really hope we can tell the difference in what is needed and what is superfluous. (The Kafka way, huh Kyle?)

theTruth

January 21st, 2012
1:03 pm

“Every Conservative that is a Conservative strongly supports a limited federal government” BULL until is comes to a woman’s body. What have conservatives ever conserved?

@@

January 21st, 2012
1:36 pm

Right now we’re trying to conserve the future of generations to come. The left is working hard to destroy future generations.

That’s the way I see it.

MarkV

January 21st, 2012
1:57 pm

Dusty,

With a relative paucity of discussion subjects today, I hope you will not mind a response to your post from January 20th, 2012 @9:17 pm, which came then too late for such.

Bless your heart, you make it so easy to answer it. Even if mostly by a question.

You wrote: “Never once did he [Jesus] suggest giving ALL YOUR MONEY to Caesar (the government) to take care of others.” (My emphasis).

Would you please give us the name or names of those, who want somebody to give ALL THEIR MONEY to the government, for care of others? For anything, for that matter.

And one more, very minor question. You wrote: “I am NOT trying to see how much I can get the government to do.” ?????

theTruth

January 21st, 2012
2:04 pm

Some say, republican’s are god gift, but not very many!

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

January 21st, 2012
3:47 pm

“until is comes to a woman’s body”
———-

The murder of unborn children is a perfectly valid concern of any government.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

January 21st, 2012
4:04 pm

Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people; Loser parasites discuss what other people have.

getalife

January 21st, 2012
4:27 pm

“an America where everybody gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share and everybody plays by the same set of rules.” President Obama

vs

The gop governing for the wealthy only with no rules.

The gop will lose.

Dusty

January 21st, 2012
4:43 pm

MarkV

You can ask questions of me anytime you wish. This is a good time today because I am ready for my birthday cookout by the family clan and that’s fun. So let’s see. It’s still early.

I refer to ALL THEIR MONEY as when the government takes most of your money in taxes (IRS)and then spends it to support others who pay none. True to say that “ALL” is an exaggeration and should be “MOST”. We might say the national debt is laid upon ALL and is where Americans stand now, whether it is for the needy or some other purpose.

As to “I am not trying to see how much I can get the government to do” is fairly simple. I do not want the government providing healthcare (prefer doctors), mortgages, unemployment, manufacturing cars, trading cars, involving itself in all business, and all such stuff.

Do I need to go on? I want less done by government so it can concentrate on the necessities such as protection of our country and those who are truly in desperate straits. .Conservation is now a necessity.

Well.. hail, hail the gang’s all here!! Good to hear from you. I give thanks for the improved weather. Who’d a thought it this morning. Charcoal smoking!!

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

January 21st, 2012
5:17 pm

It’s raining in South Carolina which means that the shiftless, the lazy, the ignorant and other assorted liberals will be too confused to go out and vote, perhaps believing it to be some al-Gore type apocalypse taking place outside their filthy windows. This, of course, bodes well for the good and decent people of America.

God has intervened on our behalf, the way I see it.

MarkV

January 21st, 2012
5:22 pm

Dusty,

I do not want to dwell on that, but I still wonder what you meant. Even if you changed your statement to “Never once did he suggest giving most of your money to Caesar (the government) to take care of others,” you would still be claiming that the government takes all your (or my) money. Surely you do not mean that. The other possibility (which you did not say but let’s consider it) would be that you meant “the government takes your money in taxes and spends most of it to support others.” Do you really believe that?

MarkV

January 21st, 2012
5:33 pm

Dusty,
Sorry, I forgot to make appropriate change. I wanted to write that it would mean (after correction) that you would be claiming that the government takes most of your (or my) money.

Jm

January 21st, 2012
6:50 pm

GA needs free enter prise zones

Places with almost no regulations, no taxes, and see what happens……

Of course the Feds will still cause a host of problems

But it’s worth a try

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

January 21st, 2012
7:03 pm

Apparently, only decent people were allowed to vote in South Carolina today, seeing how the LAMESTREAM MEDIA ROMNEY INEVABILITY CLOWNCAR was run clean off it’s rails.

Maybe he’ll win again in Kalifornia, no?

Michael H. Smith

January 21st, 2012
8:03 pm

Newt has a long ways to go Whine and a great deal more “yet unanswered accountability” to face – especially among Duncan Hunter “Mirror Trade” conservatives. Just be glad that some of us want to beat obumer more than we want to beat Newt.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

January 21st, 2012
8:15 pm

Romney is going to lose Florida too. Check the SC exit polls, our elders went for Gingrich.

Romney is a plastic, fake candidate from a liberal state and if you don’t like his position on any given issue, just wait, like the weather, it will change.

The real Conservatives have reasserted themselves. Deal with it.

Michael H. Smith

January 21st, 2012
8:16 pm

Of course the Feds will still cause a host of problems

But it’s worth a try

It’s worth more than a try Jm, it is in fact a Constitutional responsibility of the States to challenge the Federal Government on “ANYTHING” a State or States view as violating States Rights OR the rights of its’ citizens protected under the tenth amendment.

@@

January 21st, 2012
8:22 pm

Newt wins S.C.????

Whodathunkit?

schnirt

Michael H. Smith

January 21st, 2012
8:22 pm

our elders? :lol:

Most of my elders are in the grave.

Newt a real conservative? :lol: :lol: :lol:

Michael H. Smith

January 21st, 2012
8:28 pm

Oh it is going to be hard defending Newt’s liberal Jack Kemp laissez-faire Free Trade agenda and his pro-illegal immigration positions.

Do tell me Whine, Newt likes to take credit for most everything that took place during the ’90s, is he going to man-up and take credit for not stopping those sub-prime loans or for allowing the deregulation bill to pass that gave us AIG?