Labor and Transportation Issues Highlighted at Kansas Roundtable
By Bruce Lundegren, Assistant Chief Counsel
The Office of Advocacy hosted a Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtable in Overland Park, Kan., on Sept. 14th that attracted scores of small businesses and their representatives who were eager to discuss federal regulations that burden small business. While labor and transportation issues figured prominently in the discussion, government paperwork and red tape were also a common refrain.
The discussion began with a request for clarification on whether the definition of ownership for qualification in the SBA Hub Zone program includes both individuals and pass-through entities such as limited liability companies (LLCs) limited partnerships (LPs). There was also a broad complaint about government paperwork burdens and the need to focus government data collections on information that is necessary for the government and useful to small business.
On the transportation side, participants complained about costly and burdensome bonding requirements for small trucking companies, while others requested a delay in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) rule, which is scheduled to take effect later this year. Another participant stated that for all the new federal rules impacting the trucking sector, accidents have actually increased in the past several years.
On the labor side, participants complained about the lack of sufficient H2-B visas available for small businesses, and about the impact of the Department of Labor’s “Overtime” rule on small business, which essentially doubled the salary threshold for the “white collar” exemption for overtime pay. That rule was overturned by a court and the Department of Labor is reconsidering how to proceed. Others cited the need for pension reform and the need for government assistance to bring broadband to rural areas like western Kansas.
Several speakers complained about government paperwork and the long delays and other problems associated with the government procurement process, especially the difficulty small business have in actually gaining government contracts. One speaker detailed her personal experience trying to navigate the federal procurement process, after which she gave up in frustration.
As with other roundtables, common themes emerged, such as rising health care costs, paperwork burdens imposed by federal agencies, and burdensome financial regulations that were impeding small business financing. A communication tower erector requested that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration adopt recently completed safety consensus standards for tower erection and servicing. While attendees were please the Office of Advocacy was there to listen to them, many expressed frustration that government agencies are unresponsive to the needs of small business.
For further information, please contact Bruce Lundegren at 202-205-6144 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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