Advocacy Rolls Along with Hearing Regulatory Concerns in Cleveland
By Les Davies, Regional Advocate
Advocacy held their fourth Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtable of the month in Cleveland, Ohio. Following a lively roundtable discussion, Advocacy concludes that Cleveland, the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, also rocks when it comes to voicing their small business concerns.
The Ohio and Kentucky roundtables were the third series of roundtables hosted by Advocacy over the summer in an effort to solicit input from small businesses throughout the country and across a broad cross-section of the small business community. Using this valuable input, Advocacy will then submit a detailed report to the regulatory agencies, Congress and the White House. More roundtables will be held, with the next series scheduled for Kansas and Missouri in September.
Several home builders and property developers spoke of their challenges as one of the most regulated industries in the country. They told Advocacy that environmental permits take up to three years before the first shovel full of dirt is turned over. Banking regulations in response to the economic collapse of 2008 severely restrict funding of development and have driven many small firms out of business. Safety regulations redefining confined spaces to include attics and regulating silica have unnecessarily added thousands of dollars to the costs of building a home. Regulations redefining Waters of the United States to include rainwater runoff further complicates the determination of legitimate wetlands. The costs of regulatory compliance have skyrocketed and comprise an average of 25 percent of the value of a new home, according to Ohio homebuilders.
Advocacy also heard from several people in the transportation industry. This sector is concerned that while more than 97 percent of the active trucking companies are classified as small, regulations favor the largest trucking firms. A major issue is the implementation of electronic logging devices. The devices are costly and represent a major financial commitment for the small independent companies. In addition to the electronic logging devices, trucking companies are concerned that requirements for sleep apnea testing of drivers older than 50 is unnecessary and results in higher costs and employee turnover.
A common regulatory issue that touches most – if not all – small businesses we heard from is the Department of Labor overtime rule. We heard from many who told us that as small businesses they are concerned with meeting the needs of their employees and that setting salaries, benefits and working hours is a decision best left between an employer and employee. The rule raised the overtime eligibility threshold for salaried employees from $23,000 to more than $47,000 and has forced many employers to either raise salaries beyond the threshold or, more often, change an employee’s status to hourly and reducing their hours. This often results in a loss of other benefits like health insurance and 401K plans and an overall loss of income to employees, affecting morale and resulting in higher turnover and costs to both the employer and employee.
Advocacy thanks all of the participants in the successful Cleveland roundtable for their informative and often passionate contributions to the regulatory reform process.
Advocacy was in Kentucky and Ohio for Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables July 31-August 3.
Can’t get to a roundtable near you? Fill out this form and tell us about your federal regulatory burdens. We will pass this information on to the appropriate agency and use it in the planning of upcoming Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables.
For more information on Advocacy’s mission, our regulatory reform efforts or to find out where the next Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables will be held, please visit: https://advocacy.sba.gov/regulation/regulatory-reform/.
Les Davies serves as the Region 5 Advocate for the SBA Office of Advocacy, representing small businesses in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Davies works with small business owners, state and local governments, and small business associations to bring the voice of Region 5 to Washington DC. He can be reached at Leslie.Davies@sba.gov.
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