Small Business Owners Sounding Off on Government Website

The House Small Business Committee launched a new web site Thursday aimed at giving small businesses a chance to communicate what impact proposed regulations could have on their business.

Committee Chairman Sam Graves, (R-Mo.), introduced “Small Biz Reg Watch,” an online resource to highlight proposed federal regulations that could impact small companies. Graves also asks entrepreneurs to sound off on the pending legislation via uploading comments on the Committee’s interactive webpage “Small Biz Open Mic,” which was launched in 2011.

“Most small businesses don’t have lawyers or lobbyists who focus on regulatory compliance, like larger corporations may have,” Graves said in a statement. “Therefore, our Committee wants to help them participate in the federal government rule-making process from beyond the beltway.”

And some small business owners wasted no time in logging on and voicing concerns.

Perry C. Casto of Allied Associates International, Inc. in Virginia wrote:

“Dear Congressman Graves, I am the President and CEO Allied Associates International, Inc. We are a small business that supports the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community. As yet sequestration has not affected our business but should it become a reality it could, in one fell swoop, destroy our company. I am sure that the large defense contractors will be hurt by sequestration, but they will survive. Small companies like mine, however, do not have the fiscal resources to stay in business while the Government sorts out the issues surrounding sequestration. As a result the people employed by small businesses will go from being vital, contributing members of our economy to being a drain on it, a drain that I am not convinced the economy itself can tolerate. In twenty years the country, I am sure, will recover from the devastation sequestration will cause. Unfortunately my employees cannot wait twenty years, or even two years, for a recovery. Their families need to eat every day; their mortgage must be paid every month; these things cannot be put off for another budget cycle. I understand that the country must do something about getting its debt under control. But I cannot see how throwing over a million people onto the unemployment rolls will aid in that endeavor. -Sincerely yours, Perry C. Casto, Jr.Perry Casto (Warrenton, VA)Allied Associates International, Inc.”

David Bagley of Advanced BioMatrix in California wrote:

I started a business about 3 years ago manufacturing and commercializing products for coating Petri dishes for researchers doing cell culture experiments. We have grown our product line to 50 products. Our business has grown >30% per year and is profitable employing 3 employees. There is a significant opportunity to grow business and I would like to expand the business further. However, due to the uncertainties with the new health care law, questions about the Obama Administration's wanting to 'spread the wealth' via taxation and the question about sequestration (cutting funds for medical research), I have decided to allow only modest growth of the company keeping it small to avoid the ramifications of high taxes and requirements for corporate health care.  -David Bagley (Poway, CA) Advanced BioMatrix

Graves also noted in the statement that "not all regulations are bad, but many can be unnecessarily burdensome and it is important that small companies express their concerns before a rule is finalized."

Each month, the Committee will alert its web community about 5-10 potential regulations being considered and when new comment periods for select proposed rules begin.

“Because small businesses are so meaningful to the local economy, it’s important that regulators understand the affects of their proposals and identify and work to reduce unintended negative impacts before finalizing new regulations,” said Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), chairman of the Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations.

Here are some of the regulatory proposals currently open for comment:

• Health Care Law Employer (Internal Revenue Service (IRS)): The Affordable Care Act requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer affordable health insurance to their full-time employees and dependents, or face financial penalties.

• Net Investment Income Tax (IRS): The Affordable Care Act requires a new 3.8% tax on either unearned investment income or income in excess of the threshold amount of $200,000 for individual filers and $250,000 for joint filers.

• Expansion of the Lead Paint Rule (Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)): The EPA is considering expanding its lead paint rule to cover public and commercial buildings.

• Review of Standards for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (EPA): The EPA is conducting a retrospective review of regulation, implemented in 2003, that requires concentrated animal feeding operations to apply for water permits for their animal discharge and waste.

• Revisions to Economic Analyses of Critical Habitat Designations (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS): NOAA and FWS are proposing to change their regulations for analyzing critical habitat designations under the Endangered Species Act.

• Increasing Small Business Size Standards for Mining Activities (Small Business Administration (SBA)): SBA is proposing to change small business size standards for certain mining activities.