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Gov. Kevin Stitt signed an executive order Monday requiring that for every additional regulatory restriction a state agency proposes, it must eliminate two others until the total number of regulatory restrictions is reduced by 25%. DOUG HOKE/The Oklahoman file

Gov. Kevin Stitt’s plan to deregulate state government is rhetorically satisfying, but in the end, pretty silly. It certainly isn’t good government.

Stitt signed an executive order Monday requiring that for every additional regulatory restriction a state agency proposes, it must eliminate two others until the total number of regulatory restrictions is reduced by 25%.

Ha! He showed those pointy-headed bureaucrats, I tell ya!

Now that we all feel better, maybe the governor should consider another solution that is, well, more considered.

The first problem with Stitt’s two-for-one rule exchange is that it punishes state agencies that have limited themselves to regulations that are truly needed. An agency that has regulated the state the least has the least space to create new regulations.

The second problem is that it won’t take a Ph.D. in government sciences to wire around it. Agencies hungry to regulate will simply combine existing rules to create room for new ones, making the state’s administrative code more confusing, but no shorter or less regulatory. If that fails, they’ll find another way.

The biggest problem is that, in our experience, state government regulations serve a purpose. They protect the people, the environment and those who can’t protect themselves. The governor didn’t cite a single regulation in his executive order that he could show to be unneeded, destructive or lacking good cause.

If he has such a regulation in mind, he should go after it, instead of blindly swinging at the state’s administrative code.

Famous cynic H.L. Mencken once wrote that “there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible and wrong.” We don’t like being cynical, but that pretty much sums up the Stitt solution to too much state government regulation.


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