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Got a spare two months? Read Minnesota’s regulations

One of the unquestionably good things President Trump’s administration has done is to take aim at the federal government bloated quagmire of regulations. To get some idea of just how bloated, consider that the US Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) currently contains more than 112 million words. It would take someone reading 300 words a minute for 40 hours a week more than three years to read them all. Complying with these is estimated to cost the U.S. economy $1.9 trillion, about $15,000 per U.S. household each year.

Meanwhile, in Minnesota…

Even this, however, understates the true burden of regulation borne by the U.S. economy. State governments regulate too, and ours is no exception.

Researchers at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center have analysed the 2017 Minnesota Administrative Rules. They find that

the MAR contains 98,321 restrictions and more than 5.7 million words. It would take an individual roughly 317 hours—or about 8 weeks—to read the entire MAR. 

The three industries with the highest estimates of industry-relevant restrictions in the 2017 MAR are chemical manufacturing, food manufacturing, and animal production and aquaculture, as shown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 2 shows that the section of the MAR associated with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency contains more than 15,000 restrictions, making it the biggest regulator in Minnesota. The Minnesota Health Department comes in second, with more than 14,000 restrictions.

Just like federal regulations, these state regulations carry the force of law. Minnesotan individuals and businesses must deal with both sets to remain in compliance. Thanks to Washington D.C., we already struggle under a heavy burden. We must take care that our state legislators don’t unduly add to it.

John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment.

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