‘They got caught up in the bureaucracy trying to cut the bureaucracy…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) An Ohio agency put in place by then-Gov. John Kasich to reduce government inefficiency instead became part of the problem.
It may be an appropriate symbol, in some ways, of the flip-flopping Kasich’s transformation from conservative politician to Trump-bashing CNN commentator, as well as his inability to translate talk into effective action.
The Columbus Dispatch reported that Kasich established the Common Sense Initiative in 2011 “to make Ohio business-friendly by slashing state bureaucracy and streamlining business regulations.”
But CSI’s effort to slash regulations resulted in a backlog of 1,233 rules awaiting action. The Dispatch said that included 139 awaiting state-agency response, 229 were in a public comment period, and 865 were things that CSI simply hadn’t done.
CSI now falls under the oversight of Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, who criticized the backlog last month at a meeting of the National Federation of Independent Business.
“I let my staff know that was unacceptable,” Husted said. “We are not going to tolerate delays in getting our work done.”
After slapping CSI with an April deadline, Husted was able to clear more than three-quarters of the backlog.
“I’m trying to change the culture,” he said. “ … What I’m trying to do is establish a standard of customer service.”
The Dispatch cast much of the blame on Husted’s predecessor, former GOP Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.
Although the law also established that stalled rules could move after 15 days to the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, Taylor’s office discouraged moving the rules to JCARR until after they had received a CSI recommendation.
Kasich often touted CSI’s review of more than 2,100 rules per year on average, offering them as evidence of a business-friendly administration, said The Dispatch, but his reports and the agencies neglected to mention the backlog.
Roger Geiger, Ohio executive director of the NFIB organization where Husted delivered his comments, was among seemed to defend the agency’s efforts, saying it was the other state agencies’ lag in response that was the problem.
“If the government doesn’t respond, it can gum things up,” he said. “They got caught up in the bureaucracy trying to cut the bureaucracy.”