In 2007 Governor Deval L. Patrick and Attorney General Martha Coakley announced their joint effort to review regulations of the Commonwealth that are unnecessary, overly burdensome or inconsistent with statutory mandates and serve as undue hindrances to economic investment and development in Massachusetts. The Business, Technology, and Economic Development Division ("BTED"), working with the Office of Governor's Legal Counsel, undertook to begin this review called the Regulatory Review Initiative ("RRI"). The goal of the initiative was to promote a favorable regulatory environment that improves the business climate in the Commonwealth while still protecting consumers and employees.
According to a 2007 study conducted by UMASS Boston, 41% of Massachusetts CEOs think that government regulations are significant impediments and 48% of the CEOs said that their businesses experienced situations where government regulations were inconsistent with each other. Among those, state regulations were considered more of an impediment than federal or local regulations. Of those CEOs who indicated government regulations were a significant impediment, 52% cited state regulations as the major source of the problem, compared to 28% citing federal and 10% citing local regulations.
Additionally, regulations fall disproportionately on small businesses -an important part of the Massachusetts economy. Small businesses are an essential component of the Massachusetts economy, bringing in over $30 billion in revenue and employing approximately 1.5 million people across the Commonwealth. Despite their importance to the economy, small businesses are heavily burdened by the costs of government regulation and excessive paperwork. Advocacy research by the Small Business Association shows that firms with fewer than 20 employees annually spend 45 percent more per employee than larger firms do to comply with regulations
In 2010, the Massachusetts Legislature, through the Economic Development Reorganization bill, enacted a mandate that all state agencies review the impact of their regulations on small business, with possible modification or repeal in mind. Pursuant to the law, and in furtherance of the Attorney General's goal of continuing to look closely at the impact of regulations on businesses, the AGO is undertaking an internal review of all AGO regulations.
This review, called the Regulatory Streamlining Initiative ("RSI"), focuses on just those regulations promulgated by the Attorney General. BTED is working to coordinate an office-wide plan for review, to ensure any existing regulations do not create an unnecessary barrier to economic development in the state. BTED's ultimate goal is to ensure Massachusetts is a better place to do business.
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