Indiana gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence said Tuesday he would issue a temporary moratorium on new business regulations pending a review of existing red tape because companies need a break from the hundreds of new rules imposed by fellow Republican and current Gov. Mitch Daniels.
Pence said that if elected, he'll issue an executive order to declare a moratorium on new regulations and ask his budget office to review existing rules, business fees, and regulatory performance metrics to ensure they were the least costly and had the least impact on job creation.
"The state has added almost 1,200 new regulations in the past four years," Pence said. "Businesses need relief, and they need it now."
Democratic gubernatorial nominee John Gregg said the proposal showed Pence was "out of touch" with the state.
"This is what happens when you're out of state and out of touch: you call Mitch Daniels an overregulating job-killer," he said in a statement.
Daniels remains popular but is barred by state law from seeking a third term as governor.
Pence said the moratorium would not cover regulations needed to address emergency health or safety concerns or to meet federal mandates.
He also said the budget office's review of existing regulators could be completed at no additional cost to taxpayers by shifting resources to the agency.
Pence said regulation can be "a bureaucratic nightmare" for small businesses, costing them 36 percent more per employee than big companies. He supported his claim by citing a study published by the U.S. Small Business Administration in September 2010.
Small businesses employ nearly half of Indiana's workforce, and in the past 30 years, companies that have fewer than four employees have been responsible for the state's net job growth, he said.
"The health of our state's economy depends on the health of our small businesses," Pence said. "Every dollar not spent on regulatory paperwork is a dollar that Indiana businesses can spend putting Hoosiers to work."
The Pence proposal also calls for reviewing Indiana's practice of directly regulating certain occupations that employ 1 of every 7 Indiana workers. Pence also would establish a "sunrise" review of any legislation that creates new occupational licenses, with a focus on creating only those needed for job growth.