Advocacy travels to Tampa to hear from Small Businesses

By Apollo Fuhriman, Region 10 Advocate

At a recent Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtable held in Tampa, Florida, the Office of Advocacy heard from nearly 50 local small businesses about the weight of their federal regulatory burden. Among the various businesses represented there were cigar manufacturers, home health care providers, sales and rental facilities (heavy manufacturing), dry blended foods, farmers, and many others.

Advocacy has been hosting these regional meetings in an effort to hear first-hand from small businesses across the country which federal regulations are most costly and problematic for them. President Trump signed two important Executive Orders in January 2017 that instructed federal regulatory agencies to review their current rules to see which can be revised, reformed or eliminated, and to form a task force at every agency to help in making these decisions. Advocacy’s Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables are an opportunity for small entities to speak directly with the office charged with being the voice of small business in front of the federal agencies making those decisions. Attendees at this most recent roundtable were clearly anxious to speak up and be heard about the economic impact federal rules have on their businesses.

Many Cuban cigar manufacturers were present to defend this historic industry primarily in the Ybor City district in Tampa against a proposed rule from the FDA regarding the lengthy approval times, cost and burdens related to the approval of new blends. This regulation threatens the very existence of this industry that has withstood hurricanes, revolutions, and war but they might not withstand the impacts of this additional regulation. “We pay thousands of dollars per day to the government for the privilege of being over-regulated” one manufacturer declared.

Another business described the difficulty in even finding common definitions, like the difference in the size standards between the DoT and the SBA.

Several individuals representing several dry blended foods companies spoke on how the new FSMA regulations from the USDA forced them to double their compliance staff just to keep up with the paperwork on this one regulation. The increased costs are not to comply with the actual physical compliance of the products but just with the paperwork.

Tampa-area small business owners were grateful Advocacy came to them to hear their concerns and they pleaded for assistance in regulatory relief.  EPA, Department of Labor, USDA, Department of Transportation, and the Department of Health & Human Services are just some of the federal regulatory agencies that small businesses in this area say have issued costly and burdensome regulations in recent years that are weighing down their business. The Office of Advocacy will continue to work with these and other federal agencies to ensure that these small business voices and specific complaints are heard and considered during this exciting period of regulatory reform.

Apollo Fuhriman is the Region 10 Advocate and covers Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Idaho and his email is

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