NC Senate District 9 candidates debate regulatory reform

Oct 9, 2012

Although subtle differences exist in some races this election season, that is not the case with Senate District 9.  In a Candidates’ Forum in the WHQR Gallery last night, WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn reports that Republican Senator Thom Goolsby and Democratic Candidate Deb Butler went to the mat over regulatory reform. 

The Regulatory Reform Act of 2012 – now law – was strenuously opposed by environmentalists who worried laxer restrictions and less oversight of industry would lead to greater air and water pollution.  Republican supporters, including Senator Goolsby, champion the legislation as not only cutting through regulatory red tape that hampered business in the state, but also made some common-sense changes. 

“I stand firmly behind that bill.  In fact I supported it, I voted for it, and went to the different forums that were held around the state and spoke in favor of it.” 

But requirements don't spring from a vacuum, says Democrat Deb Butler.  And it was de-regulation, says Butler, that created the financial crisis. 

“We tend to have short-term memories.  But let’s not forget de-regulation of the financial industry caused a virtual collapse.  So we have to be very careful when we talk about that.” 

Butler also says the necessary work of making regulations easier to navigate isn’t helped by what she calls the GOP / Tea Party mantra of “less tax and less regulation.”  

“And I really wish it was just that simple.  But it’s not.  You’ll hear that mantra, that dogma, over and over and over again.  So I asked myself, ‘What are all these burdensome regulations?  What are all the onerous regulations that they continue to talk about?’ Is it the ones that prevent us from dumping raw sewage in Banks Channel?  Is it the ones that created the tamper-proof cap?” 

When true regulatory duplications are brought before a court of law, says Butler, they can be overturned. 

“Real” business people, says Senator Goolsby, know that expecting relief from an appeals court is bogus.

“My opponent sits here and acts like somehow it’s easy to deal with these and you can just file some kind of magical lawsuit and go into court and see all these regulations disappear.  Well, those of us who are actually in business realize it’s not that way.”