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Regulatory Fairness Resource for Small Business Owners -- Office of National Ombudsman

Date: June 04, 2014

One thing all small business owners have in common is the impact and frustration of dealing with regulations, red tape, and enforcement by government agencies.  In the 2012 edition of “Small Business Problems & Priorities” by the NFIB Research Foundation, “Unreasonable Government Regulations” ranked as the 5th greatest problem of concern from small business owners.  Much like taxes, this generic problem category costs small businesses in several ways:  understanding and keeping up-to-date with compliance requirements, costs of consultants, employee time, management time, direct outlays, lost productivity and/or sales, forgone opportunities, etc.  The federal government alone proposes approximately 150 new rules every year that cost business owners over $100 million per rule in compliance costs.  Adding state and local laws and regulations that sometimes duplicate federal regulations, merely raise the cost and frustration level for small business. 

Despite this large regulatory impact, there are important resources available to small business owners who want a voice in dealing with federal agency regulations.  The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of the National Ombudsman assists small businesses facing unfair or excessive federal regulatory compliance or enforcement issues such as repetitive audits or investigations, excessive fines, and retaliation.   

As an impartial liaison, the Office of the National Ombudsman directs reported regulatory fairness matters to the appropriate federal agency for high-level fairness review and works across government to address those concerns, reduce regulatory burdens, and help small businesses succeed. 

The National Ombudsman can help small businesses with comments or complaints that directly involve a federal agency and federal regulation(s).  The National Ombudsman also administers and helps coordinate the activities of the Regional Regulatory Fairness Boards, comprised of volunteer small business owners, which help connect small businesses with resources and hears complaints and holds hearings on regulatory fairness matters. 

Small businesses that may wish to comment on the impact of federal regulations or are dealing with an excessive fine or enforcement effort are encouraged to contact the Office of the National Ombudsman.  A simple online form can be completed at: www.sba.gov/ombudsman/comment or you may contact the Office of the National Ombudsman directly via email:  ombudsman@sba.gov;  Phone:  888-REG-FAIR; Fax:  202-481-5719; or Mail:  U.S. Small Business Administration?Office of the National Ombudsman?409 3rd St., S.W.?Washington, DC 20416.  Connecticut small business owners with questions or who would like more information may also contact their local Regulatory Fairness Board representative, Kevin Maloney of Northeast Express Transportation, Inc.? P.O. Box 549 ?Windsor Locks, CT 06096 ?Phone:  (860) 254-6398?Fax:  (860) 254-6393? E-mail: Kmaloney@nexttrans.com.

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