Employment, Finance Issues Highlight Oklahoma City Roundtable

By Bruce Lundegren, Assistant Chief Counsel

On April 29, the Office of Advocacy hosted a Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtable in Oklahoma City, Okla., attracting dozens of small businesses and their representatives eager to discuss federal regulations that burden small business.

The roundtable began with an entrepreneur nurse-practitioner keen to disrupt the traditional health care finance sector through a direct primary care program where consumers pay $69 per month for unlimited services but a high deductible – which they could pay with their health savings accounts. However, the new clinic model is not well defined in federal health care regulations, and the Internal Revenue Service is limiting the deductibility of health savings accounts. The small business began operations in 2013 and provide same day appointments, wholesale medications, wholesale bloodwork, and a focus on preventive care.

Another small business owner, based out of Tulsa, complained about the limitations of the H-2B visa program and his inability to obtain necessary workers for his landscaping business – especially with the H-2B visa cap.  He stated that if he cannot bring in temporary workers, he will have to lay off his American workers because he can’t handle the workload. He also suggested reinstating the three-year return policy, which allowed him to hire repeat workers every year.

Ranching was another area of focus and concern. One rancher complained about the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule and the growing cost of regulatory compliance. He stated that ranchers are the best stewards of the land, but financing costs and international trade barriers are hindering his business.

Other issues raised included procurement challenges, land use, redundant federal safety regulations, transportation, and financing issues associated with the marijuana and hemp industries – an issue that has been raised at several Advocacy roundtables.

Local and national trade associations were also represented at the meeting. The Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, Associated Builders and Contractors, National Federation of Independent Business, National Cattleman’s Beef Association, and others sent representatives to participate. Attendees at the roundtable expressed appreciation that someone was there listening to them but expressed frustration that so many issues have existed for years without resolution.

Advocacy was in Oklahoma, Arizona, and Nevada for Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables April 29-May 2.

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/.

Bruce Lundegren is an Assistant Chief Counsel for Advocacy whose portfolio includes safety, transportation, and security. Lundegren can be reached at bruce.lundegren@sba.gov.

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