Any American who wants to pursue their passion by starting a small business will face many hurdles, but one of the most challenging is navigating the complicated maze of federal regulations.
As a former small business owner, I know overhead expenses like payroll, insurance, rent, and utilities are costly—especially after a global pandemic—but federal regulations add an additional burden many small business owners simply cannot bear.
The costs of federal regulations disproportionately impact small businesses. According to a 2016 Small Business Regulation Study, federal regulations cost the American economy as much as $1.9 trillion a year, with businesses under 50 employees paying nearly 20% more than average. But it’s not just small businesses that feel the effects of these costs.
The study also found compliance with federal regulations costs American consumers nearly $2 trillion per year—that’s $15,000 per household. Increased costs of doing business means less investment in our communities, fewer employees hired, lower salaries, and higher prices for consumers.
In addition to the domestic impact, the self-inflicted cost of federal regulation makes it harder for U.S. companies to compete in the global market, especially when it comes to near-peer competitors like China. Our best opportunity to rebuild America’s manufacturing base is to streamline our regulatory process.
To be clear, regulations themselves are not the problem. Our federal regulatory bodies serve an important purpose in keeping our nation safe and prosperous. However, countless regulations on the books are either archaic, irrelevant, or both, and we don’t have a good mechanism to remove them. According to the U.S. Regulation Tracker, as of June 10th, there were nearly 1,100,000 entries in the Code Federal Regulations. With such staggering numbers, it is fair to say there is some fat to cut.
During the Trump administration, an Executive Order requiring federal agencies to cut at least two major rules for every new rule they implemented resulted in $340 billion in cuts to regulatory costs in four years, according to a review by the Office of Management and Budget.
This helped create one of the strongest American economies in decades. There is room to improve on this progress, which is why I introduced the Cutting Unnecessary Regulatory Burdens, (CURB) Act.
This bill will codify President Trump’s Executive Order and require the head of an agency to repeal at least two rules for every one major rule they implement.
The goal for the cuts is twofold. First, it will force agencies to scour their existing regulations to eliminate those that are obsolete. Additionally, the savings from purging unnecessary regulations can offset, if not exceed, the costs associated with new regulations.
Now is the time to act on this simple measure that will help jumpstart our economy. While most states are finally reopening, our small businesses face a steeper climb to fully recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CURB Act is a small, but important, step toward economic resurgence.
I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this commonsense measure to streamline the federal regulatory process and help our small businesses recover.
Republican Scott Franklin represents Florida's 15th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.