Government needs to help small businesses follow regulations

Government needs to help small businesses follow regulations

In a recent opinion piece in The Hill, the case was made for the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, which would impose additional requirements on federal agencies in the development of new regulations. In an effort to promote their bill, Sens. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordHarris on election security: 'Russia can't hack a piece of paper' GOP advances rules change to speed up confirmation of Trump nominees GOP senator calls Omar's apology 'entirely appropriate' MORE (R-Okla.), John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenDem lawmaker 'confident' bipartisan group will strike deal on border funding Congress in painful start to avoid second shutdown Republicans want Trump to keep out of border talks MORE (R-N.D.), Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Drug pricing fight centers on insulin | Florida governor working with Trump to import cheaper drugs | Dems blast proposed ObamaCare changes Drug pricing fight centers on insulin On The Money: Smaller tax refunds put GOP on defensive | Dems question IRS on new tax forms | Warren rolls out universal child care proposal | Illinois governor signs bill for minimum wage MORE (R-Idaho) and Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischCongress closer to forcing Trump’s hand on Saudi support Overnight Defense: Trump to sign funding deal, declare national emergency | Shanahan says allies will be consulted on Afghanistan | Dem demands Khashoggi documents Senate approves Syria, anti-BDS bill MORE (R-Idaho) unfortunately mischaracterized the Small Business Regulatory Relief Act. It is important to set the record straight.

As a small business owner myself, I certainly am in favor of minimizing any negative impact to small businesses by needed regulations. That’s why my organization, the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, worked to pass the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Act in our state in 2004. This law created a small business regulatory review committee to make sure regulations were not unduly burdensome on small businesses. That committee has worked well over the years.

In recent years I have focused attention on another important federal regulatory issue, which is the need for more resources to help small businesses comply with existing federal regulations. This important service is largely performed by the Small Business Administration’s Office of the National Ombudsman, a very small and underfunded agency.

The Small Business Regulatory Relief Act sponsored by Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenCongress must step up to protect Medicare home health care Dems slam EPA plan for fighting drinking water contaminants Bipartisan Senators reintroduce legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia MORE (D-N.H.) and co-sponsored by 11 other senators, would give the Office of the National Ombudsman the resources it needs to work on behalf of small businesses and find fair regulatory solutions. The bill would allow the ombudsman to coordinate with federal agencies and develop compliance guides and training webinars to help small businesses when new regulations are issued.

Small businesses understand that sensible regulations are needed to protect the public and themselves. However, even sensible regulations can pose compliance challenges that can affect the bottom line of small businesses. The good news is that these compliance issues can often be resolved with the proper and timely assistance of an appropriate federal agency. That is what the Small Business Regulatory Relief Act is intended to do.

I can assure senators on both sides of the aisle that when a small business owner needs help with complying with any federal regulation, they don’t want partisanship. They want effective assistance. All of us should be willing to put partisanship aside and seek a common sense, targeted solution to help small businesses comply with regulations.

Frank Knapp Jr. is co-chair of the American Sustainable Business Council and president and chief executive officer of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce.