Why So Many Regulations?

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University is researching state codes to determine the approximate number of regulatory restrictions. Based on their measurement, Mercatus found that South Dakota was the least restrictive with 44,000 restrictions within their state code, while California had the most with 396,000. Iowa’s state code has 160,000 restrictions - over three and one-half times more restrictions than our neighbors in South Dakota.

In our region, Iowa has some of the highest levels of regulations except for Illinois:

  1. South Dakota: 44,000
  2. Minnesota: 98,000
  3. Nebraska: 101,000
  4. Missouri: 113,000
  5. Wisconsin: 159,000
  6. Iowa: 160,000
  7. Illinois: 260,000

Regulations are sometimes the “forgotten” tax, except for those who must deal directly with them. It’s important to remember that regulations are not just rules, they have a cost, and too much regulation can stifle economic growth and entrepreneurship.

From an economic standpoint, the most important priority for Iowa is to improve our competitiveness with other states. The best way to accomplish this is to lower both tax rates and regulations.

It is time to ask why Iowa has so many regulations and begin the process of reviewing and eliminating burdensome regulations.