Albuquerque Small Business Leaders Discuss Their Regulatory Burdens

By Rhett Davis, Region 6 Advocate

There are 150,000 small businesses in New Mexico, comprising 99% of all firms in the state. They employ a third of a million people, or about 55% of the employees in the state.

To learn more about federal regulations that impact these small businesses, the Office of Advocacy visited Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 12 to meet with small business leaders. Our small business regulatory forum was held at the offices of the Associated General Contractors and organized by NFIB-New Mexico.

Some of the topics covered included conflicting regulations, out of touch regulators, and immigration.

One small business owner stated that federal and state water rules conflict, leaving him with a real dilemma with respect to navigating the regulatory environment. Another attendee explained how following the rules can actually hurt small businesses, because firms that are committed to operating lawfully pay a substantial price for compliance. This puts his business at a competitive disadvantage against rule breakers, so he wants to see regulations uniformly enforced.

We also discussed burdens placed on small firms by the Waters of the United States rule. Some attendees found the rule overreaching and/or confusing. Following the forum, I received news that President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency rescinded the 2015 final ruling on WOTUS that very day. I’m sure that we now have some very happy small business leaders in New Mexico!

General concern was expressed that regulators in Washington, DC are largely out of touch with residents of western states. They would like to see more sensitivity to their unique culture and landscape.

Finally, businesses shared thoughts about the US immigration system. Many businesses agreed that immigration authorities should consider small businesses’ need for more workers due to the aging population in the U.S.

New Mexico is a beautiful state and its small business leaders are very enthusiastic. The Office of Advocacy thanks the business leaders who attended the forum for providing feedback and suggestions. I hope to return soon and visit the southern part of the state.

The Office of Advocacy is committed to serving as a voice for all small businesses in the Land of Enchantment. If you live in New Mexico and have comments about federal government regulations, please contact me so I can let you know when we schedule our next visit to your area.

Rhett Davis serves as the Region 6 Advocate for the SBA Office of Advocacy, representing small businesses in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Davis works with small business owners, state and local governments, and small business associations to bring the voice of Region 6 to Washington DC. He can be reached at

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