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Massachusetts Targets Small Business Regulatory Overhaul

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 3/7/2012

Governor Deval Patrick announces massive state regulatory review designed to eliminate government-based small business barriers.

In an ongoing effort to streamline small business regulations and make the state's atmosphere more conducive to economic growth, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has announced the first wave of results following a systematic review of state regulations.

Massachusetts Small Business Regulations

Based on an initial review of 200 regulations (approximately 10% of the total regulatory base), Patrick has ordered the elimination of 41 regulations and the amendment of 107 regulations related to licensing requirements, business practice standards and duplicative reporting requirements that impact Massachusetts entrepreneurs and business owners.

"Our collective growth and prosperity depends on the growth and prosperity of small businesses," said Governor Patrick. "We can strike a better balance between protecting consumers and enabling entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses here, and government must constantly strive to do so. These changes may seem small, but not to the small businesses that have to deal with them -- and we are not stopping here."

Environmental regulations received particular scrutiny during the first round of review with the Department of Environmental Protection conducting a top-to-bottom regulatory review in an attempt to strike a better balance between environmental and business concerns.

As a result, regulatory reforms will remove unwieldy or unnecessary environmental permitting requirements, streamline duplicate environmental approvals and eliminate barriers to environmentally friendly business initiatives.

"I want to thank MassDEP for its leadership in undertaking this important regulatory reform effort that all state agencies have been asked to support," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard Sullivan. "This reform effort is a model for other agencies to follow, and I am committed to implementing regulatory reform across all of our energy and environmental agencies."

Going forward, Governor Patrick has ordered his administration to continue its review of 1,000 outdated regulations by yearend 2012, with the expectation of amending or eliminating as many as 250 rules that place burdens on small businesses.

With a final review of all of the state's 2,000 regulations slated to be completed by yearend 2013, Massachusetts state agencies are being directed to prioritize the alignment of standards to better match state practices with successful regulatory models in other parts of the country.

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