SmallBiz Vote

New portal solicits comments on small biz regs

Telling legislators how their regulations affect your small business is now as easy as clicking here. The House Committee on Small Business yesterday unveiled Small Biz Reg Watch, a website that alerts users to proposed regulatory actions with consequences for small business. The site lists the regs, describes their impact on small businesses, and provides an easy-to-use comment section to gather input from the small business community within the comment period.

Six regulations are presently described on the site—two from the IRS, two from the EPA, one from the Small Business Administration, and one from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and the Fish and Wildlife Administration. More than 250 individual comments have been posted by small business stakeholders.

To be sure, an online portal for submitting public comments on proposed regulations already exists at Regulations.gov. Small Biz Reg Watch is linked to that portal, but highlights particular rules likely to impact small businesses.

House Small Business Committe Chairman Sam Graves

“Most small businesses don’t have lawyers or lobbyists who focus on regulatory compliance like larger corporations may have,” Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said in a press release about the new tool. “Therefore, our committee wants to help them participate in the federal government rule-making process. 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.”

Graves pointed to 2010 SBA research that found that “small businesses continue to bear a disproportionate share of the federal regulatory burden.” Data in the study showed that firms with fewer than 20 employees pay in excess of $10,500 per employee annually to comply with economic, environmental, tax, OSHA, and homeland security regulations. The per-employee average compliance cost is under $8,000 for businesses with more than 20 employees.

The House Small Business Committee began soliciting small business owners’ input on legislative activities more than a year ago through its Open Mic portal and also communicates by email with small business owners. But Graves promised that his committee will use the new initiative to regularly communicate by email, social media, and live events “when new comment periods begin for select proposed rules that impact a wide array of small business.”

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