US House Launches New Small Business Website

The Small Business Committee of the US House of Representatives has introduced an interactive website designed to inform small business owners of coming regulations. The website, called Small Biz Reg Watch, highlights rules and regulations that may affect small business owners, provides informational links, and includes a forum where business owners can comment on proposals.

“Not all regulations are bad,” Representative Sam Graves, the Committee’s chairman, said in a press release, “but many can be unnecessarily burdensome, and it is important that small companies express their concerns before a rule is finalized.” Graves, from Missouri, is the first Republican Chair of the House Small Business Committee who has real world experience running a small business.

SBA research shows that small businesses bear a disproportionate share of federal regulatory burden. Currently, there are roughly 4,100 new Congressional regulations in the pipeline, many of which affect small businesses. Since small businesses rarely have lawyers or lobbyists who focus on regulatory compliance, the website is one way the government hopes to keep business owners informed about proposed changes and to get owners more directly involved in the law-making process.

Because the Small Business Committee is dominated by Republicans, critics have expressed concerns that the website may be used to advance political agendas. However, Daniel Bosch, manager of regulatory affairs at the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), said, “Any time you can increase awareness among small businesses it’s a good thing.”

“This initiative isn’t intended to manipulate the rule-making process by encouraging small businesses to mirror our viewpoint,” said D.J. Jordan, a spokesman for the Committee. “We have an idea of how small businesses will view these regulations, and it most likely will be similar to our viewpoint. But sometimes not.”

Supporters of the new website praise the neutral language used to describe the different regulations and believe it will be a great resource for small business owners. The Committee hopes to communicate news of upcoming regulations through email, social media, and through district events around the US.

Sources:

Mandelbaum, Robb. “A New Web Site Warns Small-Business Owners of Coming RegulationsNew York Times. Feb. 1, 2013.

Press Release. “Graves Announces Small Business Committee Regulatory Watch.” House Committee on Small Business. Jan. 31, 2013.

Small Biz Reg Watch. House Committee on Small Business.

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