Small Business Owners Can Now Have a Voice in the Regulatory Process

In an unprecedented effort to enable small business owners to have input into the regulatory process as it is actually unfolding and decisions are being made in Congress, House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) has announced the launch of a “Small Biz Reg Watch” website. This new online resource makes its debut by highlighting five new rules for review, consideration and comment by business opportunity and other small business owners, many of whom may be disproportionately affected by their implementation as compared to larger companies and corporations.

small biz reg watchThree of them pertain to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, and its potential effects on small business owners—specifically with regard to employer and individual mandates as well as net investment income tax implications for small businesses structured as pass-through entities. The other two issues involve potential Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations concerning expansion of the lead paint rule and standards for concentrated animal feeding operations.

This new initiative comes at a time when government regulations are of considerable concern to many small businesses in the U.S. In fact, two recent back-to-back Wells Fargo/Gallup polls conducted late last month ranked new government regulations high on their list of worries for the foreseeable future, right up there with healthcare costs, increased taxes and energy prices.

While Graves and most other Republicans will concede that they may not be routine proponents of federal regulation, a spokesman for the House Small Business Committee, D.J. Jordan, asserts that its goal in undertaking this effort is to remain neutral and provide an active forum for small business owners to make their voices heard. “We are not anti-regulation,” he said. “This initiative isn’t intended to manipulate the rule-making process by encouraging small businesses to mirror our viewpoint.” Rather, it is designed to help small businesses participate more regularly and fully in the rule-making process by making it easier, more accessible and understandable.

Thus far, expert commentary about the new website and what it seeks to achieve has been mixed. While some find it remarkable that an effort of this kind is being made to open up the policy-making process where it has traditionally been a one-way street, others are skeptical and believe that its primary goal is to foster a staunch anti-regulatory agenda.

That’s just not the case, claims Chairman Graves. “Not all regulations are bad,” he said in a recent statement, “but many can be unnecessarily burdensome, and it is important that small companies express their concerns before a rule is finalized.” According to Graves, there are “real negative impacts and consequences to over-regulating” of which Congress must be made aware, and the Committee’s new initiative allows for that level of exchange and contribution.

Business opportunity, distributorship, licensee opportunity, franchise and other small business owners who want to learn more about and weigh in on policy decisions in Congress that will affect their growth and profitability should click here on “Small Biz Reg Watch” now!

Let us hear from you, our readers! How do you think these or any other regulations might affect you, for better or for worse, in the foreseeable future? Is this new website a good idea and something that you think will be helpful? Why or why not?