Sponsored by NFIB — The Voice of Small Business

House passes bill to reform EPA science panel

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

On Tuesday. the House passed H.R. 1422, which would change the process of selecting the members of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Scientific Advisory Board. The legislation is meant to ensure greater transparency in the rule-making process.

The bill would require, among other provisions, to have local and state member make up at least ten percent of the board, meant to create greater trust between state and federal officials.

According to to Representative Chris Stewart (R-Utah), “It’s through this bill we can not only improve that process, but also restore trust between the American people and the federal government.”

Read more about the legislation here.  

Bad public policy hinders small business

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Dan Bosch, manager of regulatory policy at NFIB, penned an opinion editorial in The Hill this week about the Clean Water Act, which will expand the definition of navigable waters to include standing water and ditches. The piece highlights the growing concern amongst farmers and small businesses about the new regulatory requirements.

According to Bosch, “For small business owners, farmers, and manufacturers, the change could require special permitting to expand their business, clear vegetation or modify their facilities. Any alteration to a federal ‘water,’ including those that are dry most of the year, could require costly and time-consuming permitting. A recent U.S. Supreme Court case cited the average cost of a permit to be $270,000. Violating the regulation would be punishable by fines of up to $37,500 per day.”

Read the entire piece here.

Colorado Small Businesses and Manufacturers Discuss the Growing Burden of Federal Regulations with Congressman Tipton

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

For Immediate Release                                                                                 October 21, 2014                                                                                                                                                                  

Colorado Small Businesses and Manufacturers Discuss the Growing Burden of Federal Regulations with Congressman Tipton 

New Study Finds Federal Regulations Cost the Economy $2 Trillion Annually

GRAND JUNCTION, COLORADO –The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and Club 20 met with dozens small businesses and manufacturers to discuss the growing burden of federal regulations with Congressman Scott Tipton (R-3) at Leitner-Poma, a local aerial lift manufacturing company. The event explored the findings of a new national study on regulations, conducted by Lafayette College economists Nicole V. and W. Mark Crain for the National Association of Manufacturers, that found federal regulation costs the American economy $2.028 trillion in lost economic opportunity each year.

“In order to keep America competitive, we must work towards a less cumbersome federal rule-making process. Federal regulations, we can all attest, are essential to help safeguard our communities and our businesses. However, the current federal process is broken,” said Congressman Scott Tipton. “We cannot have a regulatory system that costs over $2 trillion and not expect this to impact economic growth across the country.”

According to the study, small businesses and manufacturers are disproportionately impacted by federal regulations. The average cost per employee that a small business must pay to comply with federal regulations is now $11,724 a year, while small manufacturers pay an astounding $34,671 per employee per year.

Tony Gagliardi, NFIB-CO state director, added, “Business owners from across Colorado approach me with the same story:  outdated and duplicative regulations are handcuffing their ability to grow.  With over 3,300 regulations in the pipeline, is it any wonder that small business owners feel their voices aren’t being heard in Washington?   We applaud Congressman Tipton for understanding the regulatory burdens facing small businesses in our state and actively working to change the process.”

“The new study gives credence and a measurable proof to the growing regulatory burden manufacturers face,” said XX, president of Club 20. “These job-creators look to Washington to implement smarter regulatory policies, ensuring that our community is preserved, and avoiding roadblocks to economic growth. We need to find a better balance.”

According to Rick Spears, CEO of Leitner-Poma, “As a manufacturer in Colorado, our company takes pride in creating safe products in a safe environment. Sadly, federal rules have become an obstacle to our success. Regulations are not the problem, rather it is the arbitrary and confusing rule-making process. Regulations impact small manufacturers on a much larger scale than any reasonable person could understand, and as a result, we are left with fewer resources to grow and expand our companies.”

EPA proposal would handicap small business

NFIB-Ohio’s Executive Director Roger Greiger penned a letter to the editor in The Columbus Dispatch about how EPA’s proposed expansion to the Clean Water Act would negatively affect small businesses in Ohio and across the country. The EPA is considering changing the definition of navigable waters to expand the agency’s jurisdiction over small bodies of water, including farm ponds, seasonal streams, and puddles.

According to Greiger, “Small businesses would be those most affected by these regulations, and they feel the EPA should spend less time posing with environmentalists and spend more time reaching out to explain how the agency arrived at the notion that it has the authority to implement these rules. If the EPA were to reach out to small businesses, many would point out that the proposed rules do nothing to clarify the definition of waterways, and instead increase uncertainty over which waters are covered by requiring most waterways to be evaluated case by case.”

NFIB has been actively engaged on this issue. Last week, the organization submitted comments to the EPA, highlighting that the EPA had not followed the Regulatory Flexibility Act, which mandates that agencies consider the impact of a rule on small businesses. The NFIB concluded that this rule “increases regulatory burdens on small business landowners.”

Read the entire letter to the editor here.

NFIB Files Comments on the Clean Water Act

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) filed comments with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week about the controversial expansion to the Clean Water Act. The new rule, which extends the agency’s authority over streams, farm ponds, and puddles, will be particularly troublesome for small businesses and farmers.

According to the comments, “Landowners will be more hesitant to engage in development projects or to make other economically beneficial uses of their properties.”

Read NFIB’s comments here.  

NFIB Small Business Jobs Report

Monday, 13 October 2014

Small business job creation plans faded in September, according to the newly released NFIB Small Business Optimism Index. Moreover, the report, which surveys over 600 small business owners across the country, suggested potentially weaker job creation in the coming months.

According to NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg, “Job creation plans also faded however, suggesting weaker job creation ahead…  The September NFIB data anticipate new jobs in the low 200,000 range and an uptick in the unemployment rate. Reports of past hiring were very strong, suggesting a good jobs number, but job openings and job creation plans faded, casting a shadow over the job market outcomes.”

Check out the entire survey here.

EPA welcomes more comments on water regs

Monday, 6 October 2014

The EPA announced this week that the agency is extending the comment period for the controversial Clean Water Act rule, which would give agencies a greater authority to regulate water, including small farm ponds and ditches. This is the second extension the agency has granted to the comment period and will now run through November 14.

According to reports, “The EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board is wrapping up a report on the connectivity of small bodies of water such as streams and wetlands, the agency noted, and the EPA wants to give the public more time to comment on the results of the report once it is released.”

Read more about the extension here.

SBA Advocacy Office Urges EPA Admin to Withdraw Proposed CWA Rule

Thursday, 2 October 2014

The Small Business Administration (SBA) submitted comments today on the proposed expansion of the Clean Water Act, emphasizing the rule would have a significant economic impact on the small businesses across the country. The new rule would bring seasonal streams, ponds, ditches, depressions in fields, and large puddles into the EPA’s jurisdiction, subjecting small business owners to costly new permitting requirements. In their comments, the SBA noted that the EPA used an incorrect baseline for determining their obligations under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), the rule imposes costs directly on small businesses, and the rule will have a significant economic impact on small businesses.

Under the RFA, if a rule will have a significant impact on small businesses, a federal agency must provide a detailed cost benefit analysis, including estimates of both direct and in-direct costs of a rule to a small business. The EPA, however, suggested the proposed expansion to the Clean Water Act is a simply definition change, claiming that there won’t be major costs directly imposed on small businesses. The SBA notes the change in permitting process along with other compliance requirements will directly impose a cost on small businesses.

According to the SBA, “Concerns raised by small businesses as well as the agencies’ own economic analysis both indicate that small businesses will see a cost increase as a result of the revised definition,” it wrote. “The EPA and the Corps have obligations under [Office of Management and Budget] guidance, and the [Regulatory Flexibility Act] to measure and communicate this increase.”

Read the SBA’s entire comments here.

Study Finds Small Businesses Struggling with Overwhelming Regulations

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

A recent survey of five Midwestern states found that federal regulations are a top concern for small business owners across the region. While 9 out of 10 respondents agreed that regulation was necessary if it were “fair manageable, and reasonable,” Nearly 80 percent of business owners are overwhelmed by the sheer number of regulations. And, many respondents agreed that this directly impacts economic development.

According to the report, “Businesses face a myriad of requirements from federal, state, county and local governments. Many of these regulations produce benefits that justify the cost of compliance. But collectively they may impose a hidden cost that could deter businesses from opening or stifle their growth. Regulatory reform efforts may be more successful if they facilitate the examination of the many already existing regulations, rather than focusing on adding new duplicative requirements for agencies to follow when they promulgate new regulations.”

This research reaffirms a report released by the National Association of Manufacturers a few weeks ago that found federal regulations cost the economy over $2 trillion in 2012. The growing burden of the federal regulatory system is unsustainable for small businesses across the country. As the November election draws near, it’s time for Washington to create real change and reform the regulatory system.

Read more here.

The Bottom Line of the 2014 OMB Report to Congress

Thursday, 25 September 2014

In June, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the 2014 Draft Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations, and public comments were due this month. The report analyzes the cost and benefits of federal regulations to the economy; however, the research only looks at a small subset of the proposed rules. In fact, out of 3,659 finalized rules in 2013, OMB’s report only reviewed 54 major rules and a few hundred significant mandates.

The question becomes: If the OMB cannot even analyze all the rules published within a calendar year, how are small businesses expected to comply with all the new rules?

This report is another example of the growing need for regulatory reform. Small businesses are struggling to comply with a rule-making process that has grown in complexity over the last four decades. It’s clear that Congress needs to improve the regulatory process, by keeping federal agencies accountable for the rules they produce.

Read more here.

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