Regulatory Relief Sought For Small Businesses

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A report by the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy reveals that the full annual cost of Federal regulations on businesses is $1.1 trillion or 11 percent of additional income. The report, The Impact of Regulatory Cost on Small Firms, finds that the total Federal regulatory cost per employee in firms with 500 or more employees is $5,282 per employee while in firms with less than 20 employees, the cost escalates to $7,647 or 45 percent over larger firms with 500+ employees.

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Earlier this year, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, introduced regulatory reform legislation designed to close loopholes in the 25 year old Regulatory Flexibility Act according to a statement from the Committee. Two of the proposed acts, the Small Business Compliance Assistance Enhancement Act and the Regulatory Flexibility Reform Act, require Federal agencies to evaluate the impacts of regulations that significantly affect a majority of small businesses according to the statement.

“Today's report finds that Americans spend a staggering $1.1 trillion trying to comply with Federal regulations. We can and we must continue our efforts to inject common sense into the regulatory arena by passing the targeted regulatory reform legislation I introduced earlier this year. My legislation will help small businesses know how to comply with the complex regulations and ensure that Federal agencies properly consider the cost burden of legislations on small businesses,” said Snowe in the statement. “Once an idea becomes a regulation, it never seems to change – even when the times change or technology modernizes, and the regulation no longer makes sense. The goal of my legislation is to ensure agencies don't impose unnecessary burdens on small businesses that hinder their ability to create and retain jobs.”

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) in their latest Small Business Optimism Index found that America's small-business owners are anticipating a strong third quarter although these findings were recorded in August before Hurricane Katrina according to Red Nova.

“Katrina put a wrinkle in the outlook,” said NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg speaking with In Business Las Vegas.

“Its going to affect us all at some point – businesses and individually," Michael Graham, deputy state director of the Nevada Small Business Development Center told In Business Las Vegas. "You can't take that much out of our economy at one time and not have an impact. I think we can still be optimistic. I don't think it will be so destructive, (but) all of us will be paying a little bit more.”

In other small business news, Red Nova reports hiring plans are consistently solid across all industries but South Atlantic and New England states were strongest while the East South Central region was the weakest. Capital spending remains unchanged for the most part according to Red Nova.

The number of those planning to make capital expenditures slipped slightly as did the number of those seeing now as a time for expansion of their businesses Red Nova reports. Those adding inventories and planning to add inventories increased with those small-business owners reporting higher sales according to Red Nova. All sectors are seeing rising prices, Red Nova says, with construction prices leading the way. Borrowing has fallen significantly as cash flow and profits remain strong enough to meet capital needs according to Red Nova.

“It appears that job creation will remain solid, the unemployment rate could fall below 5 percent and capital spending will also be solid, but not spectacular,” Dunkelberg told Red Nova. “Overall, the economy is showing continued strength.”

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