June 3, 2015

In the last few years, conservative reformers have worked to cut government regulation. Many people don’t really understand what they mean by regulatory reform.

NC Spin host Tom Campbell gave a clear example about wasteful government regulations that added hundreds of dollars to the cost of remodeling his home.

Here is the key part of Mr. Campbell’s article.

“After 31 years living in the same home my wife and I decided to downsize and simplify our lives. The maelstrom we got as a result was frustrating, time consuming, expensive and anything but simple.

Regulation reformers have been beating the drum for change for years, but I didn’t understand until undergoing this home remodeling. Our contractor and his subcontractors had to apply for no less than 6 permits, adding more than $500 to the costs of remodeling. There were more than 21 inspections by my count, adding costs and delays waiting on the necessary inspection in order to proceed.

Some of the regulations demonstrate once again that common sense isn’t common. For example, the electrical panel was reversed so as to face into the garage. It was very accessible, free of obstruction and anyone at least 5 feet tall could easily turn off the main breaker, or any of the breakers in the panel. But the building code says the main breaker cannot be higher than 6 feet 7 inches above the floor, so we were required to build a 30×37 inch wooden platform permanently secured to the wall, an unsightly box that prevented the door from the patio from opening into the garage.

Electrical receptacles anywhere near plumbing have to be equipped with arc fault plugs, meaning that if any appliance creates an arc it trips the circuit breaker. Thank God we now have a sturdy platform to reset it. The light inside our shower had one of those ground fault devices, requiring us to push the tiny GFI button to turn the light on and off. We stand a better chance of getting an electrical shock from stepping out of the shower trying to turn the shower light off using that switch. We paid to have it removed after the inspection.

But the icing on the cake was the unreasonable requirement that any door leading outside to the swimming pool had to be equipped with a door alarm. I was told this was so that tiny persons could not wander outside to the pool and fall in. Nevermind both occupants of our house are well into their 60s and our youngest grandchild is 15. Opening that door sets off an alarm so loud that it will wake the dead, or at the least set neighbor dogs howling as far as three blocks away. When I protested, I was told not to worry; as soon as the inspection was passed we could remove them but in the meantime, I felt trapped in my own home”. (NC SPIN)

All these extra costs and headaches discourage people from starting businesses or hiring people for projects. That’s why reforming regulations is an important issue. It’s about jobs.

Hats off to conservative reformers in the Legislature for fighting the fight.

And hats off to Mr. Campbell for explaining what’s at stake.