Government Regulations on Businesses- Navigating the waters

If you were in a room full of business leaders and asked them to shout out the first word that comes to their mind when they hear the word regulation, what kind of responses might you expect to hear?  Would it be words such as costly, burdensome, damaging or unfair?  Even if you ask politicians or government officials the same question, how might they respond?  Too often, both Republicans and Democrats say they want to eliminate regulations, but frankly many do not even know how to go about it.


Reduction or elimination of regulations has become a talking point aimed at appealing to constituents.  Just days ago at a town hall meeting held by Sen. Bernie Sanders, the senator danced around a question from a small business owner asking why the Obama administration is “so against the business owner”.  Sen. Sanders stated that he disagrees that the current administration is against business then quickly began speaking about taxes on the upper class without even mentioning regulations.


Of course, we all want clean air, clean drinking water and safe food to eat.  Regulations have contributed to a cleaner environment and safer consumer products, but we want checks and balances in our government, in fact that is how it was designed.  The issue arises when one branch of the government seizes too much control.  Understandably, the executive branch is the largest of the three, given the amount of agencies that are operated and staffed.  Ironically, and unfortunately, the power was given to them by the legislature which has the ability to create agencies and appropriate their budgets. This is particularly a problem at the federal level, where the regulation process is near impossible for the average business-person to navigate.


As I wrote just days before the November election, polls suggested that business leaders overwhelmingly supported then candidate Trump.  This may have had something to do with the fact that during the campaign, he suggested that 70% of regulations can be eliminated since all they are doing is stopping businesses from growing.


That being said, regulations are a bi-partisan concern, meaning that both parties create and enforce them; merely the nature of the regulations changes with the political tides. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in 2007, during Bush’s presidency, federal agencies finalized nearly 3,000 rules, compared to only 138 laws passed by Congress.  Under the Obama administration the number of rules and regulations continued to grow.  Thus, it is clear that the lawmaking power has been given to unelected bureaucrats.


So, is there a solution to burdensome regulations?  Last October I wrote a blog highlighting what Gov. Kasich and Lt. Gov. Taylor have been able to accomplish with the creation of the Common Sense Initiative (CSI).  Since 2011, CSI has been an added layer of protection for businesses.  Meaning that state agencies must submit a Business Impact Analysis (BIA) with every rule package filed.  This BIA indicates a multitude of items, but most importantly whether the rules are expected to have an adverse impact on business. (Wouldn’t it be nice if the federal government had something similar to this?) Ohio has made progress, but there is still work to be done.  Nonetheless, it can be cumbersome to navigate the regulatory waters at any level of government.


We know understanding the process of government and its regulations can be tricky. But that is why we are here, and your business is a member. If you ever have a question about a rule or regulation coming from an Ohio agency, please reach out. We can help right the ship. We can not only help get you in touch with the appropriate contact, but we can also advocate for changes to certain regulations. We are your partner and we won’t let you sink in what may seem like the deep, dark waters of regulatory bureaucracy.

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