Pinellas county has pushed forward with an idea to exempt themselves from regulations and fees that drive up the cost of construction and of doing business in various cities. This points to two problems when it comes to government and regulations: 1) Local governments drive up the cost of doing business unnecessarily which hurts jobs and all other parts of the economy; and 2) Some governments will seek to exempt themselves from the rules while everyone else has to suffer under them.
Have you been hurt by high fees, regulations or delays from bureaucrats?
Report your story to the SunBeamTimes and we will investigate and report.
What are the regulations that hurt businesses? Well, that is a complex set of building codes and fees that each city imposes on people trying to expand their businesses or grow them. They must be substantial since, according to the St. Pete Times:
“This summer, the county figured it could save money on an $81 million public safety complex in Largo by using the county’s own building regulations and permit fees, not Largo’s more expensive fees.”
The county couldn’t negotiate lower fees, so they just decided “we’re exempt”. Too bad that local citizens and business can’t do that.
The Sun Beam Times is in the process of investigating high fees and unnecessary regulations that interfere with business growth and homeowner improvements. Anecdotes come to mind.
- Reports are that a St. Peterbsurg restaurant owner suffered substantially when city inspectors kept changing their minds on locations of sinks and exhaust hoods. They would approve a location one day and then another inspector would withdraw approval another day. This drives up costs, delays construction and alters important deadlines for financing.
- This author was required to pour over $50,000 of concrete and rebar into the foundation of his building to meet federal flood codes. Apparently the building is one foot below the 100 year flood plain and fears were that it would “float away” in a flood. Very deep analysis revealed that the engineers were interpreting arcane formulas in way to arbitrarily determine that the “soil saturation” would be artificially high after a flood. They had no data to support this but over-engineered the building driving this business owner deeper into debt and depriving him of more capital to grow the business and create more jobs.
- The landscaping codes require certain number of trees and shrubs in ways that are overly expensive and unnecessary. Landscapers must be hired to submit plans for approval to city departments.
The city regulations, codes and fees need extensive review and modification. They are major links in the governemnt chains that disable our economy. These chains cause job recession, job loss and despair. Regulations can be done responsibly to protect from obvious problems, but they have clearly gotten out of control to the point that even local governments are developing rivalries amongst themselves. Unfortunately, the average citizen can’t just vote themselves “exempt” from these regulations.