An article written by Andrew Dal Nogare
In 2009 several members of the House of Representatives formed the Small Business Caucus to better serve the sector of our economy that is responsible for the majority of jobs in this state. As a result of their outreach in all three Counties, the group developed an agenda with several bills designed to address some of the major concerns small business owners have and to improve the overall climate for this vital sector of the economy.
HS 1 for HB 390, “The Regulatory Flexibility Act”, is adapted from model legislation recommended by the Small Business Administration and would replace a more general existing section of the code with a consistent and balanced approach which applies several specific steps as guidelines in the rulemaking process. The bill will rationalize a process that now varies greatly from agency to agency and will guard against arbitrary and unnecessary regulation.
As is often the case, small business owners are at a competitive disadvantage with larger companies. They lack the resources and manpower to comply with overly complex regulations that a larger company would usually have the capacity to handle. Passage of this bill will require regulators to place themselves in the position of a small business owner and determine what burden the proposed rules will place on the business.
Key components in the bill include both the requirement to streamline regulations and eliminate rules that overlap with existing Federal rules, and the requirement for an economic impact statement to be created.
The economic impact statement must include an estimate of the number of small businesses likely to be impacted, the cost that the regulatory burden will have on the small businesses, a statement of probable effect on the regulated businesses, and an analysis of less costly or less intrusive means to achieve the regulatory goal.
Provisions in the legislation also call for regular review every 5 years to update the economic impact statements, and the increased coordination between the Registrar of Regulations, State agencies, Office of Management and Budget and the Department of State to insure compliance.
The Regulatory Flexibility Act is commonsense legislation that will help our companies stay competitive while reducing the burden of State regulations on their operations.
HS 1 for HB 390 passed the House on Thursday June 17th and is now headed for the Senate for consideration. With only a week left in this General Assembly, we urge the Senate to act on this bill with all deliberate speed. In our current economic climate, we need to support our small businesses by reducing the cost of regulatory compliance. 31 other states have adopted versions of this legislation and the opportunity to reform this sector of government has never been timelier.
Andrew Dal Nogare, Public Policy Director, Caesar Rodney Institute