Michigan & Wisconsin Small Business Owners Describe their Regulatory Burdens to Advocacy

By Claudia Rodgers, Senior Counsel

Small businesses are fed up and asking for relief. The Office of Advocacy heard this and more at its roundtable meetings held in Detroit, Mich., on March 13, and in Milwaukee, Wis., on March 15. As part of Advocacy’s continuing effort to hear directly from affected small businesses about their existing federal regulatory burden, these meetings are held as a result of President Trump’s regulatory reform mandate. Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables are being hosted across the country so that we may hear first-hand from small entities affected by federal regulations.

In suburban Detroit, small businesses told us how it appears as if the federal government has been regulating without considering what the actual impact to business would be. “It seems like federal agencies don’t do any due diligence to consider the consequences of their regulations,” said an owner of a chain of convenience stores and supermarkets.

Of particular concern was the recent increase in the sheer number of regulations. “Over the last few years, the number of regulations has been more problematic,” complained another small owner.

For example, one of the biggest complaints we heard in Michigan was the feeling that the government was creating regulations that don’t make sense for the real world and then compliance officers from various agencies create new policies and procedures in an effort to fine businesses for inconsequential violations of regulation at which the business was not even aware. “We don’t mind playing by the rules, but tell us what the rules are,” declared one small business owner.

Some specific regulatory concerns discussed during the roundtables were rules from the Consumer Protection Finance Bureau, the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary rule, the Environmental Protection Agency lead rules, Department of Defense procurement rules, the application of HUB Zone rules, numerous new healthcare rules, DOD Cybersecurity rules, the Food and Drug Administration’s Tobacco Deeming rule, and the Department of Interior’s Waters of the United States regulation.

In Wisconsin, Advocacy heard from owners who complained about the “vicious cycle” of regulation. They felt that the more information and documentation supplied to the federal government, the more their burden to do so increased. “When are we done?” asked a small technology-based company. ”When can we put these regulatory issues aside and focus on growing our business?” Read more about this in Charles Maresca’s piece.

The frustration and the call for change were heard loud and clear across this region. From conflicting mandates between different agencies to seemingly endless paperwork requirements, small businesses said they are feeling overwhelmed with federal regulations. Irrelevant and ineffective rules are stifling small business growth in these states. Small businesses are asking for is help in navigating the complicated world of federal regulation and for real regulatory reform that will result in a real change for their business.

The Office of Advocacy is compiling specific regulatory complaints and suggestions for improvement as these roundtables are being held across the country and continues to work with federal regulatory agencies to ensure these important small business voices are heard in Washington, DC. For more information on the regulatory reform effort or where the next Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtable will be held, please visit https://advocacy.sba.gov/regulation/regulatory-reform/.


Advocacy was in Michigan and Wisconsin for Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables and NAFTA Modernization Outreach Meetings on March 13, 15, and 16.

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/.

Claudia Rodgers is Advocacy’s Senior Counsel. She can be reached at Claudia.Rodgers@sba.gov.

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