Kansas regulations a long read, says economist

Even though Kansas is far from the most regulated state, there are still a lot of things to know before you can start a business in Kansas, particularly in education, energy or medicine.

“Kansas regulations are so long and so costly, it would take one person four and a half weeks just to read through the entirety of them once,” said Michael Austin, an economist with the Sandlian Center for Entrepreneurial Government at the Kansas Policy Institute. “Those businesses are passing the costs on to us.”

Kansas has a lot of controlling language in its regulations.

“Researchers at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University developed a program to help measure that regulatory text,” said Austin. “They looked for words and phrases like may not, they looked for words like prohibited or words like required, to name a few. They found about 70,000 plus Kansas restrictions in the 2019 Kansas administrative regulation guide.”

Regulations fundamentally interfere with market competition.

“It’s important to draw the line between ensuring consumer safety, but you still want to encourage startup activity,” said Austin. “Unfortunately, too much regulation discourages that startup and you don’t really see that extra gain in consumer safety. Instead, what happens is that regulation keeps out smaller and more innovative firms.”

Kansas’s current rate of new jobs is roughly a third of the growth in the 1990s.