While this mismatch in regulations is already stark, Governor Carney had recently introduced Senate Bill 305 (which did not pass out of Committee) and would have empowered DNREC to grow the regulatory burden on small businesses even more than it already has.
At CRI, we want to be clear; we believe that the creation and oversight of regulations for health and safety - including appropriate environmental regulation - are a central role for government.
But, over time, the government continually adds regulations but rarely removes outdated ones. In Delaware's case, many existing regulations are aimed at businesses that largely no longer exist in the State (e.g., according to the latest report in 2019 by the Mercatus Center, there are almost 21,000 regulations on chemical manufacturing, an industry almost entirely gone from the state). But the army of bureaucrats devoted to these existing regulations still takes taxpayer money from higher priority areas like education and mental health.
Previous CRI analyses have exposed New Castle County's economy is smaller today than it was twenty years ago and that Delaware's aging demographics are making economic growth even more problematic in the state.
Regulatory updating can refocus Delaware's government on what is important to current and future citizens while freeing small businesses from wasting resources on outdated rules which ensnare them in a bureaucratic morass, slowing or even, in the case of New Castle County, stopping economic growth.
We recommend that Governor John Carney sign an executive order mandating that before a new regulation can be added, two regulations must be removed. Let's help Delaware's small businesses help themselves and their employees.