Small Businesses in Virginia Urge Agencies to Pursue Sensible Regulations
By Janis Reyes, Assistant Chief Counsel
The Office of Advocacy hosted a Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtable in Glen Allen, Va., at the request of U.S. House Small Business committee member Rep. Dave Brat to obtain feedback about federal regulations that burden small businesses. More than 50 small businesses and their representatives attended this packed event and urged federal agencies to pursue sensible regulations.
“Today I heard not just stories about inefficiencies here and there, but horror stories across every industry represented about regulations forcing small businesses to permanently shut their doors,” Brat commented in a statement after the event.
Small businesses in the home health care industry expressed anxiety with rising health care costs and paperwork burdens under new health care regulations. Another worry for these companies was the low reimbursement rate for Medicaid services at only $13 per hour in Virginia, a state with a high cost of living. One small business noted as an anecdote that you couldn’t even hire a high school babysitter at these rates. One home health care company recommended reform of a 2015 Department of Labor regulation which changed the companion care exemption for workers who provide services for elderly individuals; those working at third party agencies would have to be paid overtime. One participant commented that this rule has resulted in employers having to cut employee hours because their clients could not afford overtime payments.
Premium cigar companies cited the high compliance costs and cumbersome requirements of the Food and Drug Administration’s Tobacco Deeming Rule. According to participants, many of these companies are now deemed to be manufacturers, subject to extra testing and reporting requirements. One small business stated that this rule has resulted in thousands of dollars in costs and has put up barriers to entry or expansion for businesses in this industry. The FDA has recently delayed the enforcement dates of several of the compliance requirements of this Deeming Rule.
Multiple companies in the transportation industry expressed concern regarding regulations by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which assigns Safety Measurement Systems scores for trucking companies. One brokerage company that coordinates trucking shipments stated that many trucking carriers are not rated with a SMS scores or data on whether they are out of service. Multiple small trucking companies commented that their drivers were not responsible for accidents that occurred on the road, but these incidents hurt the companies’ safety ratings. In both of these cases, it took months and many manager hours to fix these safety ratings.
After this roundtable, Advocacy visited VHI Transport, a small transportation intermediary in Chester, Va. Representatives from this company were also concerned about FMCSA’s rules about SMS scores and electronic logging devices. One small business manufacturer cited a Federal Highway Administration policy that required the re-testing of traffic signs, even though there was no data regarding accidents involving their products.
Small businesses also mentioned problematic labor regulations and environmental regulations. One representative for the National Association of Home Builders mentioned a litany of federal regulations from many federal agencies that are responsible for 25 percent of the cost of building a home in the United States. While small businesses expressed frustration with federal agencies for their regulatory burdens, many participants expressed support that the Office of Advocacy and their legislative representative are listening to their concerns.