Kansans Can Hold Government Accountable with Constitutional Question 1

Inflation, energy, crime, and interest rates continue to climb, and government policies are not helping. This Tuesday, Kansans have an opportunity to get involved and oblige government to control itself.

A “yes” on Constitutional Question 1 would allow the state legislature to revoke or suspend rules or regulations created by state bureaucrats. It would amend Kansas’ constitution to create a check on the state agencies and bureaucrats that too often act like a fourth branch of government without the checks and balances to counteract overreach.

Unlike legislators who are held accountable through elections, bureaucrats are never up for election. They never have to answer to voters for their track record or for the regulations they create that impact people’s lives and livelihoods. Voters thus have little recourse for holding these bureaucrats culpable for the policies they inflict.

Yet bureaucrats and bureaucracies have significant ability to impact everyday life through their ability to create rules and regulations that carry the weight of law. Some regulations create important guidelines that protect Americans. These address important issues like water cleanliness, food handling, air quality, and more. Others—like requiring children to register their lemonade stands—only create roadblocks for Americans.

Indeed, regulatory burdens have very real consequences and costs. The Mercatus Center estimates that a 10% increase in a state’s regulations results in a 2.5% increase in poverty in that state. In the case of housing, researchers have repeatedly found that increased regulation—not building costs—consistently drive housing prices higher across America. Couple that with the rising interest rates and record inflation, and the housing crisis makes much more sense.

Unsurprisingly, states with larger and more complex regulations have less annual growth, less entrepreneurship, and less innovation. California, with the largest regulatory load in American, has seen an annual increase of 7.35% in prices and an annual loss of nearly 15,000 jobs due to its regulatory burden, according to Mercatus scholars. Meanwhile states that have cut their regulations, have experienced lower poverty and income inequality rates.

Idaho has the lowest regulatory load of any state in America, and it experienced one of the nation’s fastest economic rebounds from COVID. It also now ranks as having one of America’s top economic outlooks and top inbound migration rates, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council’s annual Rich States, Poor States report. Kansas ranks in the report’s bottom half of economic outlooks.

Smart deregulation can lift expensive and unnecessary burdens that are holding back Kansans and the Kansas economy. Voting “yes” on Constitutional Question 1 on Tuesday will allow the legislature to stop regulations that do more harm than good, sending a message to the government that it exists to serve the people, not make their lives more difficult.