Be careful where you cut

There’s an old adage among carpenters that you should always measure twice and cut once. State agencies should be encouraged to follow that advice as they follow Gov. Sean Parnell’s administrative order to review their existing regulations.

Parnell signed the order last week instructing state officials to review their agencies in an effort to increase efficiency, lower costs and minimize any burdens on Alaskans. Findings are due by Oct. 15. After that, agencies have been instructed to complete their reviews by Sept. 15 each year. Members of the public are to be included in the process.

Trimming unnecessary regulations certainly is a good thing, and something Alaskans love to hear. No doubt, there are rules on the books that are no longer pertinent. State agencies should be doing all they can to ensure they are conducting business in the most efficient way possible. In a press release, Parnell said that Alaskans are better served when regulations are limited in scope, plainly written and consistent with the laws they implement.

We’re supportive of efforts to ensure that state regulations do just that.

By the same token, state officials need to remember that each regulation on the books was enacted for a reason. We Alaskans think of ourselves as independent people with an appreciation for limited government, but what may seem burdensome and inefficient to one person may be an essential protection for another.

With that in mind, we hope that state regulation reviews are both thorough and transparent. The impacts of any recommended changes need to be carefully considered from multiple points of view. That might be an inefficient way to do it, but a bad cut now can cause even bigger problems down the road.

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