Chief of Staff Heidi Gansert looks on as Gov. Brian Sandoval signs several executive orders. (Cathleen Allison/AP)
There is only one parasite that kills its host: Government.
Shortly after taking office Gov. Brian Sandoval signed an order suspending any new executive branch regulations until 2012, saying this will send a signal to businesses that the state is business-friendly.
He also asked state agencies to review regulations and rescind any that harm businesses. He made an exception for regulation protecting health and safety, which is a large enough loophole to drive an aircraft carrier through.
At least Sandoval recognizes that it is not so much the laws a state has, but the regulatory bureaucracy.
It is the same with our federal government, as George Will recently wrote. Congress doesn’t pass laws regulating things, it abdicates its authority by creating bureaucracies in the executive branch which write the detailed restrictions, whether its the EPA, FCC, USDA, SEC or some other alphabet soup agency.
“Too many ‘laws,’” Will writes, “actually are little more than pious sentiments endorsing social goals — environmental, educational, etc. — the meanings of which are later defined by executive-branch rule-making. In creating faux laws, the national legislature often creates legislators in the executive branch, making a mockery of the separation of powers.”
And the devil is in the detail, as Review-Journal columnist and editorialist Glenn Cook discovered a couple of years ago when he wrote about the rules written by the Consumer Product Safety Commission that have virtually shut down the second-hand children’s toys and clothing business, many once run by charities, by requiring hugely expensive inspections for finite traces of potentially hazards elements.
After the governor signed his order, the R-J editorialized approvingly.
“A campaign to help existing Nevada businesses cut through red tape and restrain overzealous regulators should go hand-in-hand with work to lure new businesses to the Silver State,” we said in a Jan. 6 editorial.
“Every business owner who has made Nevada home is a potential ambassador for companies yet to come. What better message to send to prospective industries and entrepreneurs than one that shows we won’t stop looking out for them once they get here?”
Of course, this prompted businessman Ed McSwain to send in a missive with his tale of bureaucrat woe, recounting various fines, fees, inspections and general government foot-dragging without regard for the cost being loaded onto any business.
He also told of a relative who was basically entrapped by a county employee into making a minor zoning infraction, which drew a fine. This was followed the next day by a health inspection and fine and the next day by a fire inspection and fine. The business is planning to move to Texas.
In response to Mr. McSwain, on Monday, the paper received a letter from a frequent writer with his own tale of nonfeasance, misfeasance and malfeasance when he ran a small retail business here in the 1990s.
After recounting a litany of taxes and fees and license requirements, he told of the visit from the state sales tax auditor who spent three days going over his books “and all she could find was a purchase on my American Express card for $25.00 from a company in New York for some "SALE" signs that I used in my store. She smiled and informed me that I was liable for the sales tax to the state on those items and promptly informed me that I owed $1.69 plus LATE FEES of $250.00”
Then after sucking its host dry, the parasite whines that it is being starved.