Federal regulations now cost our economy $1.1 trillion per year, which is more per household than the cost of health insurance. And we all know that small businesses pay far more than large corporations to comply with Washington’s dictates.
It’s a problem that knows no end. I wrote about it last week in my column, Federal Law Fails to Stem SMB Red Tape. Despite the government’s best efforts, federal red tape has grown by 400 percent in the past decade or so. While small businesses will never escape this unending tide, the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy is trying to do the next best thing. It recently asked small business owners to identify the regulations they would most like to see reformed.
Small business owners made their picks on the SBA Web site. More than 82 rules were nominated, and they agency narrowed the list down by considering such factors as the ability to reduce the impact on small businesses; whether the situation has changed since the rule was enacted; whether the rule is duplicative and its overall importance to the small business community. So here are the top ten rules small businesses love to hate:
- Air monitoring rules for dry cleaners: SMBs want the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to revised the rule to reflect current technology and reward environmentally friendly dry cleaning methods.
- Community drinking water systems: Small communities want the EPA to expand ways for small communities to meet protective drinking water standards.
- Recycling solid wastes: Simplify the rules for recycling materials that must be handled, transported, and disposed of as hazardous wastes.
- Oil spill rules: SMBs want the EPA’s definition of “oil” clarified, so that small facilities storing nonpetroleum-based products are not unintentionally captured by cleanup requirements.
- Washington, DC, flight rules: Review flight restriction rules surrounding the nation’s capitol to avoid harming small airports within the region.
- Financial requirements for architect/engineering services firms: Remove or reduce duplicative retainage requirements in architect-engineering services contracts, as has been done for other services.
- Home office business deduction: Simplify the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standard deduction for home-based businesses, which constitute 53 percent of all small businesses.
- Rules for mine explosives. The mining industry wants rules updated to be consistent with modern mining industry explosives standards.
- Medical laboratory worker rules: Make the rules more flexible in situations where workers do not have potential exposure to blood-borne pathogens.
- Reverse auction techniques for online procurement: Review the Office of Federal Procurement Policy’s (OFPP) system to determine how reverse auctions impact small firms.
By the looks of it, the list was pretty much generated by special interests. But you can change that by going to the SBA Web site and making your choices known.