The PJ Tatler

Small Business to Regulators: Keep it Simple, Give Us a Break

American businesses will face more than 4,200 new regulations in the coming year. The costs of complying with this daunting regulatory regime show up in the prices consumers pay, and in lost jobs. Ty Baker-Baumann owns Rebsco, Inc. in Greenville, OH. In this exclusive video, produced by the National Federation of Independent Business, she details the impact that burdensome regulations have on her business.

She writes:

My message for lawmakers in Washington is straightforward: keep it simple.  In recent years, small business owners have shouldered the ever-increasing burden of complying with federal regulations.  In the past five years, the number of proposed major regulations has increased by more than 60 percent.  In 2010 alone, the number of regulations increased by 18 percent.  And today, there are literally thousands of new rules just waiting to be handed out by Washington.

As a small business owner, I know firsthand the challenge of keeping up with all that the government asks.  I employ between 20 and 30 workers depending on the season.  Constantly, they have to be trained and certified on new procedures and equipment just to keep up with new, and often inconsistent, requirements imposed by government agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Don’t get me wrong, my workers’ safety and wellbeing is my top priority.  That’s why I have in place workplace safety precautions and make my employees take training courses and obtain certifications beyond what is required.  But trying to keep up with all the changes, many of which are later relaxed, is costly and time consuming. Often, I’ve had to delay or forego projects because the price of compliance outweighs the profitability of the project.  In those cases, I’m not employing people I otherwise would.

What’s needed is a set of commonsense rules that are easy to follow and that cut out redundancy.  Small business owners already have plenty on their plate.  Regulators in Washington should focus on providing assistance to small businesses and help us comply with rules rather than constantly making changes and assessing penalties when we’re not able to keep up.  Give us a break.  It’s not complicated – keep it simple!

Having co-founded a small business myself, I can related to Baker-Baumann’s struggles. It takes tremendous drive, energy and determination to succeed, and there are no guarantees that you will. It also takes courage to step out and take on the regulatory state in public, as she has.

The Tatler will run more stories like Ty Baker-Baumann’s in the coming weeks.