What does less government mean to you here?

Published 1:42 pm Tuesday, March 11, 2014

By CAM WARD / Guest Columnist

We hear catchphrases and feel good maxims like “We need less government,” and “Government needs to get out of the way of business,” and “let the private sector create jobs” all the time.

But as small government conservatives and Republicans, what does that really mean?

Obviously we agree that government has some basic functions in a civilized society – defense, public safety, transportation and infrastructure chief among them.

So how do we balance between the free market and fairness?

One the greatest Republican presidents in our history, Teddy Roosevelt, was known as The Trust Buster – he broke up monopolies that were stifling innovation and running roughshod over our rights as men, and the rights of The Constitution.

In short: we need a government for order and for society to function, but collectively was must all debate on when “order” becomes “control” and “function” becomes “compulsory adherence.”

This is a pretty esoteric debate, and that is why I want to point out a few functional properties of less government, and getting government out of the way of business, based on two bills I have recently introduced in the Alabama Senate.

The first piece of legislation has to do with the Department of Labor and Worker’s Compensation Insurance.

In the past, insurance companies had to file a form with the state every time they wrote new coverage, or dropped coverage for a company.

It was cumbersome, labor intensive, and in our interconnected, modern world, not needed on either end.

This one little change will save man hours, save tedious form filings, and get government out of the way, so these companies can more efficiently use their resources.

The second bill falling under this category has to do with storm water system regulation.

Currently, the EPA and ADEM set standards for our cities and counties. In the past, some cities have decided to write their own, harsher, standards to include large fines.

This bill simply says that municipalities and counties cannot write their own regulations – allowing companies and workers to know they are operating under one uniform standard.

They don’t have to waste time looking up codes for each county, city or town before going about their normal business operations.

Again, this makes that one piece of their job less cumbersome, and less susceptible to government and regulatory overreach.

These bills are not necessarily headline grabbers, but they allow businesses to function better and more efficiently without needless government regulations and oversight.

That is what less government and getting government out of the way of business mean to me: Doing the little things to create better opportunities for us all.

Cam Ward is an Alabama State Senator from Alabaster.