“Regulations are an impediment to everything we are trying to do!” Small Businesses in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey Ask for Relief

By Claudia Rodgers, Senior Counsel

The call for help from America’s small businesses continued this month in Princeton, New Jersey, Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Poughkeepsie, New York, where the Office of Advocacy held Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables to hear concerns of small business owners in those regions. “There is a huge need for small business to have solutions and relief from all of these regulations that don’t make sense for them,” said the owner of a cybersecurity firm in Syracuse. “Regulations are an impediment to everything we are trying to do. It is frustrating with not being able to concentrate on running your business and not have people that understand what it is to be in a business and make a payroll,” declared a business owner in Poughkeepsie.

These sentiments and more were expressed during Advocacy’s recent round of regulatory roundtbales. Advocacy began this effort in June of last year in response to President Trump’s Executive Orders 13771 and 13777 focused on regulatory reform by federal agencies. The goal is to hear first-hand the specific regulatory burdens small businesses in each area are facing and what specific changes are needed in order to reduce those burdens. Advocacy is compiling this information and working with the agencies on numerous regulations in an effort to reform, revise, replace or eliminate where possible. As the voice of small business, Advocacy is uniquely positioned to assist federal agencies in their reform efforts and ensure that the needs of these vital components of our economy are addressed.

The cost of healthcare was a common theme among those attending the roundtables. One small business owner from Scranton said she is no longer able to provide her employees health coverage and after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act: she lost coverage herself due to the price tag of the available plans in Pennsylvania. “They took my plan away from me. So I had to go without insurance for a year. We can completely not afford the Affordable Care Act. It is hurting businesses and individuals.”

A common theme heard across the country during these important events is that small businesses crave certainty, clarity and common sense when dealing with federal government regulations. A real estate entrepreneur in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania told Advocacy that he feels regulations have tipped the scales and that he is very frustrated over the unnecessary information asked for by so many regulations. “I check boxes all day! This burden is holding back the economy. We need to find a way for making these regulations more common sense,” he stated. This sentiment was shared by a business owner in Scranton who told Advocacy… “I understand we are a society of rules and regulations. You need stop signs and traffic lights at busy intersections, but putting five stop signs on a little dirt road makes no sense. This is what the (federal government) is doing with their regulations.”

While there were numerous regulatory issues discussed at these roundtables, a few agency rules stood out:

  • The Department of Labor’s Overtime rule
  • the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers Waters of the United States rule
  • the Department of Transportation Hours of Service rule
  • the Electronic Logging Device rule’s impact on small trucking companies
  • the many regulations as a result of the Affordable Care Act
  • OSHA’s Crystalline Silica rule
  • the Department of Labor’s H2A and H2B Visa program rules
  • and many more

These issues and more are being reviewed by Advocacy staff in an effort to advise the federal agencies on which federal regulations are burdensome to small businesses. It is clear from these most recent roundtables that small business owners in this region are in need of regulatory relief and that Advocacy needs to continue to be their voice in Washington, D.C.


Advocacy was in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York for Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables September 11-13.

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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