Three Steps to End a Legislative Boom in Slovakia

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Two weeks before the Slovak parliamentary elections seems like the right time to show the negative side of one fact. Although the election may change the political situation, it will not influence the frequency of legislative changes which have to be endured by the entrepreneurs. We can look at the statements of the government, not to rely just on the words of complaining entrepreneurs.

The Ministry of Economy mapped 1202 legislations, including 417 laws, 503 decrees and 282 regulations of the Government.They identified4556 information obligations, whose cost for entrepreneurs adds up to EUR 2,670,555,723. Over 90% of legislative burden comes from four ministries: the Ministry of Finances, the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Economy. The highest share, about 65% (EUR 1.7 billion) comes from the Ministry of Finances.

We have written many times that a legislative burden is worse every year because the problem is not only an existing legislation but also new legislation and burden which is created every year. Approach to this new burden is very poor and irresponsible, without proper analyses. This, in turn, causes many unintended consequences.

In election campaigns, including this one, most parties indicate that they recognize the problem. There are many ideas how to improve legislation in the country. The parties thus offer very interesting solutions how to do it in practice. The problem is that a lot of these good solutions remain only on paper when the campaign ends. Why? Good and interesting ideas are not enough. If they want to implement them, they need a good and effective management system. Or, to be more precise, an effective management system and a comprehensive institutional and organizational system of creating a legislation. Unfortunately, this is the main problem as regards this process. Many politicians underestimate the management. Three steps are enough to stop the legislative boom.

The first step is writing of measurable goals for certain part included in program declaration. For example, commitment that every year the government will reduce a number of newly adopted legislations. The second step is an identification of one responsible member of the government (ideally the Prime Minister or his deputy) who has enough competences to oversee and enforce implementation of these goals in every ministry. He should oversee the ministries which are responsible for new legislative burden. The third and last step is creating an independent committee, based on the example of the Council for Budget Responsibility in Slovakia, which would monitor the government’s lowering of the legislative, regulatory and tax burden.

If new government will not act in accordance with this process, we can publish this article after four years again. They still have enough time to learn from the failures in the past. Will there be better times for entrepreneurs after this parliamentary elections?

Jan Oravec