Governor Hogan Explains his Budget

Regulatory Reform Commission Releases First Report

The Governor’s Regulatory Reform Commission delivered its first annual report today to Governor Larry Hogan today, and as expect its full of solid recommendations to continue to change Maryland.

The report makes twelve specific recommendations to the Governor:

  • Restructure and Reform State Government
  • Create a One-Stop Shop for Licensing
  • Adopt Electronic Documentation and Online Filings
  • Streamline the Review Process for Development
  • Consolidate Professional Licenses
  • Reduce Fees and Payment Frequency
  • Fully Embrace Nutrient Pollution Trading
  • Revise Brownfields Guidelines
  • Eliminate Obstacles to Mortgage Lender Licensing
  • Expand Minority and Disadvantaged Business Opportunities
  • Review Vineyard and Food Truck Requirements
  • Review State Procurement Process

Some of these recommendations are painfully obvious.

  • Electronic filings, for example, makes it easier for taxpayers and companies to conduct business at the state while at the same time reducing the amount of lag thanks to excessive paperwork and reducing the environmental impact of these filings;
  • Reducing the amount of fees and their frequency will put more money in the hands of taxpayers and businesses, encourages additional commerce;
  • The Development Review process has been an issue at the local level here in Anne Arundel County for at least ten years. It’s past time that those guidelines be reviewed and streamlined;
  • License Consolidation is such a simple idea, it’s amazing that it has never been implemented;
  • And anybody who has spent more than five minutes looking at procurement in Maryland knows that the system is desperately in need of an overhaul and a cleanup after years of Democratic abuses.

The most interesting piece in here to me is the idea to “Restructure and Reform State Government.” The commission report states:

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The Commission unearthed a compelling systemic problem within state government agencies regarding overlapping regulatory authority and interagency communication. This overlapping regulatory jurisdiction of multiple state agencies causes unnecessary delays and expense for many applicants and a considerable loss of productivity for state employees/agencies. In 1969 and 1970, Governor Marvin Mandel led a complete restructuring of Maryland state government by taking the existing 248 different agencies and departments and combining them into 11 departments. Governor Mandel’s restructuring brought Maryland state government into the 20th century. Forty-five years later, the state’s governmental structure is again convoluted and lacks continuity. It is time to bring Maryland government into the 21st century.

While it is easy to be critical of Marvin Mandel’s tenure in office for obvious reasons, there can be no doubt about the way he left his legacy on Maryland State Government through his restructuring plan. As the report notes, it is beyond time to go through another review and restructuring exercise. Over the last 45 years, the Democratic Party has continued to grow state government, adding agencies, employees, and expenses, to create a bloated state infrastructure that is inefficient and often ineffective.  Even at the cabinet level, the state has doubled the number of cabinet departments from 11 to 23 since the Mandel reforms. It’s time to consolidate where appropriate, and cut the fat where needed to make Maryland state government an effective entity mindful of budgetary constraints.

We all look forward to the implement these necessary and prudent recommendations of the Regulatory Reform Commission. And we look forward to the beginning of the Restructuring of State Government. If he is able to successfully reform and restructure state government, Governor Hogan would leave a lasting mark on our state that would improve our quality of life and business climate for generations to come.

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