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 LankfordGOP senator calls on State Department to resume passport application processing GOP senators urge Trump not to restrict guest worker visas Senate revives surveillance brawl MORE (R-Okla.), John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenBipartisan senators seek funding for pork producers forced to euthanize livestock House Republicans threaten pushback on Saudi Arabia amid oil market slump Overnight Energy: Trump rollback of Obama mileage standards faces court challenges | Court strikes down EPA suspension of Obama greenhouse gas rule | Trump floats cutting domestic oil production MORE (R-N.D.), Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyRosenstein steps back into GOP crosshairs Is Trump encouraging the world's use of national security as stealth protectionism? Expanding tax credit for businesses retaining workers gains bipartisan support MORE (R-Idaho) and Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischHillicon Valley: Lawmakers demand answers on Chinese COVID hacks | Biden re-ups criticism of Amazon | House Dem bill seeks to limit microtargeting Senate panel approves Trump nominee under investigation Hillicon Valley: Trump threatens Michigan, Nevada over mail-in voting | Officials call for broadband expansion during pandemic | Democrats call for investigation into Uber-Grubhub deal 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.

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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 ShaheenThis week: Surveillance fight sets early test for House's proxy voting Open Skies withdrawal throws nuclear treaty into question GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill 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.