State impacts of federal regulations

Many government regulations have been enacted to protect us, but some increase costs — particularly to businesses. NC State University economist Mike Walden explains findings of a new study on how the impact of government regulations differs among the states.

“We now have a new study from our friends at George Mason University that did exactly this. What they did is they measured how much the state economy was impacted by existing federal regulations.

“And we would expect this to be different because a lot of regulations are industry-specific, so if you are a state that has a lot of industries that do have a lot of regulations, you are going to be more impacted than maybe a state that doesn’t. And importantly this study did not look at the benefits and costs of those regulations. It simply said, ‘How much is the state’s economy impacted by regulations?’

“And in terms of the most regulated state it is Louisiana, perhaps surprisingly, where regulations were 74 percent greater — federal regulations (were) 74 percent greater than for the average state. Now the reason Louisiana was tops is the energy business very important there — we have a lot of regulations related to energy.

“In terms of the other states that have a lot of federal regulations, they were Alaska, Wyoming and Kentucky. Again here, we have a mix of states with a lot of energy industries as well as those with a lot of grazing land, like Wyoming, so there will be a lot of regulations.

“Now where does North Carolina rank here? North Carolina was ranked 14th, and federal regulations in North Carolina impacted our state’s economy 15 percent more than the impact for the average state. And I think there, again, it’s because of regulations impacting our coastline — environmental regulations, as well as those regulating, perhaps, some of our big national forests.

“The least regulated states in the country? New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.”