Wide Range of Issues Discussed at Nevada Roundtable
By Stephanie Fekete, Assistant Chief Counsel for Congressional & Legislative Affairs
On May 2, 2019, the Office of Advocacy hosted a Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtable in Summerlin, Nev., attracting dozens of small businesses and their representatives eager to discuss federal regulatory issues that impact small businesses.
The discussion began with a dialogue on the definition of a small business, especially related to defense contracting in federal markets. Small business owners expressed concerns that the definition of a small business was unclear and inconsistent across federal agencies and was prompting some larger groups to take advantage of contracting opportunities that were meant for small businesses. There was also discussion on how state and federal requirements can be conflicting, which causes confusion for small businesses in Nevada.
Another major issue that was discussed at length was international trade opportunities for small businesses. Multiple small business attendees stated that the tariffs with China has caused unintended consequences for small businesses in Nevada. Imports have been reduced causing some small businesses to look for other alternatives to import from other countries instead of manufacturing domestically due to high costs. They emphasized that small businesses should be considered with international trade decisions, such as tariffs and other trade agreements, to avoid these kinds of unintended consequences.
Various labor issues were also discussed, including workforce development internship programs at the Department of Labor, potential changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act requirements, sick pay requirements for federal contractors, and the Department of Labor’s overtime regulation. Many small business owners specifically expressed concern with efforts to raise the federal minimum wage and how it could potentially lead to artificial intelligence and automation replacing workers. One small business owner in the retail industry detailed how raising the federal minimum wage would increase the price of retail items, forcing her to cut her employees’ hours and making it impossible to hire more workers. Many small business owners suggested that a gradual increase to the minimum wage could be less harmful to small businesses and allow them more time to adapt to the increase.
Additionally, many small business owners discussed the cost of health insurance. Small business representatives stated their desire to be able to provide health insurance to their employees, but they were unable to do so because of the high costs. They were supportive of association health plans as an option for small business owners to be able to provide health insurance to employees at a more reasonable cost.
This roundtable was a valuable experience for Advocacy. We had a chance to listen to small businesses in the Nevada area explain the challenges they face with federal regulations and begin a dialogue on how to address some of their concerns.
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/.
Stephanie Fekete is the Assistant Chief Counsel for Congressional & Legislative Affairs. Fekete can be reached at Stephanie.Fekete@sba.gov.