SPRINGFIELD – There's maybe one thing that Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Republican President Donald Trump agree upon: their distaste for bureaucratic red tape.
Illinois is one of the nation's most binding, regulation-burdensome states in the union. The state's inability to break out of the suffocating 2009 recession can be directly linked to its ridiculous number of anti-business regulations: 259,000 pages of them.
One by one, President Trump has reversed former President Barack Obama's anti-job and -prosperity executive orders to allow fresh air into America's stale economic environment. It's what Governor Rauner only wished he could do so easily in a Democrat-controlled state.
He tried to cut the red tape in state government and make Illinois more competitive with surrounding states when he set up the Illinois Competiveness Council Forum six months ago.
“Excessive red tape has been a barrier blocking small business and entrepreneurs from wanting to grow and expand in Illinois,” said Governor Rauner. “That’s why we created the Illinois Competiveness Council … to see where we can streamline and improve the restrictions in government.”
The governor has directed the agencies working with the Illinois Competitiveness Council to reduce regulations by 20 percent. The Council led by U-Jung Choe will work with agencies from those areas to reduce regulatory burdens and cut the red tape.
“We are deeply committed to this mission. We will listen to all suggestions, make immediate changes when possible, and do all we can to advance Illinois' economic climate,” said U-Jung Choe, chairwoman of the Illinois Competiveness Council.
The Council solicited assistance from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University to analyze the Illinois Administrative Code to best understand where red tape existed, where to cut it, and how to improve Illinois’ business climate. Illinois’ current administrative code is significantly larger than a majority of states, according to the analysis by the Mercatus Center. Illinois has more than 259,000 restrictions that make up more than 15 million words.
The Mercatus Center also found that most regulatory restrictions were in five areas: public health, environmental protection, social services, professional occupations and transportation.
And sadly, that's where the reform will stay – as a list of things that need to be done in order to make Illinois on the road to regaining economic health. It will stay that way until the Democrats of Illinois have a reason to be concerned about the state's future. They're not yet. They don't appear to be concerned enough to even discuss ideas for reform.
Yet another critical difference between Springfield and D.C.
Oh, that Governor Rauner agreed more with President Trump.