Arizona Chamber Foundation Policy Brief Makes Case for Online Permitting and Licensing
August 10, 2010
Use of technology reduces costs for business, government
PHOENIX – The Arizona Chamber Foundation today released the fourth and final policy brief
in a series by former Small Business Administration Regional Advocate Michael Hull.
This most recent paper examines at the gains that could be won from implementing an integrated, online shop where Arizona businesses could easily apply for and obtain permits and licenses.
Online permitting and licensing is not a new idea. Various cities and state agencies throughout Arizona have already adopted online systems for certain permits and licenses. Hull suggests, however, that an integrated system is the only way to effectively coordinate between the numerous regulatory silos.
“It is imperative that state leadership pushes to build one integrated system. At present most agencies are using different software and systems. This categorically increases the cost to taxpayers and creates systems that cannot speak to each other. Worse yet, it creates further barriers to entry for new business start-ups,” Hull writes.
Prior to the Great Recession and the subsequent state budget challenges, the Arizona Legislature did push for such an integrated system. The Government Information Technology Agency (GITA) had recently been developing a one stop online shop, but dedicated funding for the project was redirected to the general fund. But Hull indicates that the project can, and should, be completed.
“The good news is that the Legislature does not have to wait until the economy improves to build and implement an online permitting licensing (OPL) system. There are many software companies that have worked with other entities to build these systems and a lot of others that would like to be involved” Hull writes. “This system is too important to allow it to sit on the sidelines until the budget picture improves.”
The brief points to reductions in government staffing levels and overtime hours as evidence of cost savings for taxpayers. For businesses, the ease of obtaining permits and licenses online enables them to dedicate more resources to investment and job creation. From the standpoint of economic development and Arizona’s global competitiveness, Hull sees this system as a major benefit
“From the city of Bellevue, Washington to the state of Utah, to the country of Singapore, governments are using the power of technology to decrease their costs while improving processing times and taxpayer satisfaction,” Hull writes. Contracting with the private sector to finish the system “will show current and prospective businesses that Arizona will work with them to fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams.”
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