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Earlier this month, without much fanfare, the House of Representatives approved a package of promising regulatory reform bills, including the Regulatory Accountability Act and the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2017. The package is now under consideration in the Senate.
It's hard to overstate how beneficial this legislation would be to small businesses like mine.
A blizzard of federal regulations over the past several years has helped put a chill on the American economy, and no one has been hit harder by this red tape onslaught than our nation’s small businesses. In fact, complaints about federal mandates among small businesses have risen considerably and now rank as a top concern for small businesses across the country.
Take my company, Cuisine Unlimited, for example.
Last February, we were awarded a major catering contract for all food services at the new performing arts center in our hometown of Salt Lake City. This new contract will require us to make a major investment in equipment and smallwares, and we’ll be able to hire more than 50 additional staff. Unfortunately, red tape turned what should have been a golden opportunity into an unbelievable headache.
My company immediately applied for an SBA loan, but we learned that our 37-year-old, well established company did not qualify, even though we have had numerous successfully managed SBA loans in the past. Three banks informed us that our rating, according to new bank regulations imposed by Dodd-Frank, disqualified us from loan consideration.
It didn't end there. Trying to navigate the complexities of the Affordable Care Act and anticipate the new overtime rules forced us to hire part-time staff instead of full-time, salaried positions with benefits.
It should not be so hard for us to take advantage of a new contract. Why does it seem as though government is wind in my face instead of at my back?
My story is not unique. As chair of the U.S. Chamber’s Small Business Council, I hear similar stories from small business owners across the country who are struggling under the weight of over-burdensome regulations.
Maxine Turner, Cuisine Unlimited
One way to address the problems associated with unnecessary, duplicative, or excessive federal red tape is to guarantee that small business stakeholders like me have a place at the table when regulatory decisions are made. That is the concept embodied in the Regulatory Accountability Act and the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act included in a package (known as H.R. 5) approved by the House.
Another way to address this problem would be for the Senate to approve the Regulatory Accountability Act, which was also included in H.R. 5. This bill would update the 70-year old Administrative Procedure Act rulemaking process and improve how federal agencies promulgate rules with the most significant impact on jobs and economic growth.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, employing more than 62 million Americans, or about half of the private sector workforce. Since 1995, small businesses have been responsible for creating about two-thirds of the net new jobs in our country.
However, the pace of job growth on Main Street has slowed in recent years, and at the same time, we have experienced a decline in new startups. Both trends pose a threat to full economic recovery.
One of the best ways to jumpstart our economy is by supporting small businesses. And one of the best ways to support those small businesses is by enacting real, meaningful regulatory reform.