Through Oct. 16, every citizen so inclined has the opportunity to make an individual comment on the record to let the federal government, specifically the Small Business Administration (SBA or agency), know what would help reduce existing regulatory burdens to small business.
On Aug. 15, a Request for Information (RFI) was published in the Federal Register, titled “Reducing Unnecessary Regulatory Burden,” requesting public comments.
In this RFI, the SBA is seeking input from the public on identifying which of the agency’s regulations should be repealed, replaced or modified because they are obsolete, unnecessary, ineffective or burdensome. This process of evaluating and identifying such regulations comports with the mandate in various executive orders to reduce the number and costs of the regulations that federal agencies impose on the public.
This official “comments” process is not window dressing. Every comment is actually read and recorded and then taken into account by the agency and legislators as they draft rules, regulations and laws that affect every business. While many people do not think that taking the time to respond is effective, it is absolutely effective and necessary if one desires change in the regulatory burdens to business.
National advocate Ann Sullivan, president of Madison Services Group, said, “Without advocacy, the government keeps adding rules that cost businesses time and money. Advocacy starts with business owners. It is not reserved for organizations or professional advocates, like me.”
In this case, the SBA has formulated nine specific questions, but also encourages the public to add additional information not included in the questions. In layman’s terms, it is important to comment if one agrees or disagrees with proposed rules and regulations.
It is a mistake to assume that, if one agrees, it is not necessary to comment. This is because the agency or legislators will only see the comments, and if only those who disagree take the time to write in, it appears that no one agrees and the rules may then change without taking into account those that agree.
The SBA requests that commenters identify the specific regulation at issue and explain, in as much detail as possible, why the regulation should be streamlined, expanded or repealed, including estimated cost savings and benefits to small businesses and other stakeholders.
The following nine questions asked are intended to help the public understand what is being asked, but are not intended to limit responses.
1. Are there SBA regulations that have become unnecessary or ineffective and, if so, what are they?
2. Are there SBA regulations that can be repealed without impairing SBA’s regulatory programs and, if so, what are they?
3. Are there SBA regulations that have become outdated and, if so, how can they be modernized to better accomplish their regulatory objectives?
4. Are there SBA regulations that are still necessary, but which have not operated as well as expected, such that a modified approach is justified, and what is that approach?
5. Are there SBA regulations or regulatory processes that are unnecessarily complicated or could be streamlined to achieve regulatory objectives more efficiently?
6. Are there any technological developments that can be leveraged to modify, streamline or repeal any existing SBA regulatory requirements?
7. Are there any SBA regulations that are not tailored to impose the least burden on the public?
8. How can SBA best obtain and consider accurate, objective data about the costs, burdens and benefits of existing SBA regulations?
9. Are there any specific suggestions of ways SBA can better achieve its regulatory objectives?
The process to submit comments is identified by its Docket Number (SBA–2017–0005) using any of the following methods: Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Identify comments by ‘‘Docket Number SBA–2017–0005, Reducing Regulatory Burden RFI,’’ and follow the instructions for submitting comments. Another option is to mail responses to Holly Turner, Regulatory Reform Officer, U.S. Small Business Administration, 409 Third Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20416.
The SBA will post all comments on www.regulations.gov.
It is required to leave one’s complete name, address and contact information as part of the comments process. The comments are then posted in full at www.regulations.gov.
There is an option to submit confidential business information (CBI) as defined in the User Notice at www.regulations.gov. To do so, highlight the information that you consider to be CBI, and explain why you believe this information should be held confidential and submit the information to Holly Turner at the above address. SBA will review the information and make the final determination as to whether to publish the information.
This RFI was prompted by President Trump’s Executive Orders 13771 and 13563. The Executive Order 13771 requires the agency to (i) identify at least two existing regulations that the agency can cancel; and (ii) use the cost savings from the cancelled regulations to offset the cost of the new regulation. Executive Order 13563 requires that agencies conduct a retrospective review of their regulations to seek more affordable, less intrusive means to achieve policy goals, and to give careful consideration to the benefits and costs of their regulations.
Additional orders also require agencies to review existing rules to remove outdated regulations that stifle job creation and make the U.S. economy less competitive. For full RFI content, visit the official link at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-08-15/pdf/2017-17176.pdf.
Gloria Larkin is president and CEO of TargetGov, in Linthicum. Email [email protected], visit www.targetgov.com or call 866-579-1346 for more information.