Regulations

Small businesses are responsible for nearly two-thirds of job growth in this country. However, small business growth is limited by the cost of regulatory compliance. The annual cost per employee of complying with federal regulations is significantly higher for smaller firms than larger firms.

Read NFIB’s positions on government and regulatory reforms that affect small business:  

Unnecessary regulation is a perennial cause of concern for NFIB’s members and is particularly burdensome on small businesses, which lack the resources and personnel to keep up. According to NFIB’s monthly Small Business Economic Trends survey, “unreasonable government regulations” ranks as the fifth largest problem. Unfortunately, the regulatory burden on small business has continued to grow for decades. Congress and the administration must curtail costly regulations that disproportionately affect small businesses.

NFIB-Supported Regulatory Reform Legislation

Beneficial Ownership

A beneficial owner is defined as anyone who owns 25% or more of the ownership interests of a reporting business, or an individual who has substantial control over a reporting business.

NFIB opposed the Corporate Transparency Act, which requires corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) with 20 or fewer full-time employees to file new reports with the Treasury Department’s FinCEN bureau containing the personally identifiable information of small business owners.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Improvements Act (H.R. 7623), introduced by Ohio Congressman Warren Davidson, would hold FinCEN more accountable to the public and small business community. NFIB sent a letter of support for this bill and encourages members of Congress to cosponsor.

Waters of the United States (WOTUS)

The current WOTUS rule, established in 2020 and known as the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), provides greater certainty for small businesses and allows states to continue to regulate local lands and water. However, the Biden Administration is now seeking to repeal the Trump-era NWPR and replace it with a rule that would expand federal jurisdiction significantly impacting owners with lands that are wet only part of the year, similar to what was proposed during the Obama Administration. 

Overtime

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is considering a proposal to increase the overtime exemption threshold. The overtime rule, part of the Fair Labor Standards Act, dictates that employees must receive overtime pay of at least time and a half for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. The current threshold is $35,568 annually and experts anticipate DOL might increase the threshold to over $50,000 annually. This means that if the threshold increases, all employees earning under the new threshold amount would be eligible for overtime pay. NFIB opposes an effort to expand overtime eligibility as increasing the threshold would be disruptive and challenging economically for small businesses.

NFIB supports the Pandemic Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Act, which would create a review commission to help Congress identify regulations that need to be changed or repealed in light of lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.

NFIB supports the Unnecessary Agency Regulations Reduction Act of 2021, which would create a process to eliminate outdated, duplicative, or burdensome agency regulations by requiring the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to submit a list of regulations to consolidate or repeal on an annual basis.

NFIB supports the Providing Accountability through Transparency Act and the Guidance Clarity Act, both of which are meant to make government actions easier for the public to understand. The Providing Accountability through Transparency Act would require government agencies to include a 100-word plain language summary for each proposed rule. These plain language summaries would also be made publicly available online. We also support the Guidance Clarity Act, which would require federal agencies to include text in guidance documents clarifying that guidance are not laws, and do not have the force and effect of a law.

NFIB Advocacy on Regulations 

NFIB is also actively advocating against regulations that will harm small businesses. Here are some of the most recent comments NFIB has submitted to the White House and various federal agencies:

On January 13, 2022, NFIB issued a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen arguing that the beneficial ownership reporting requirement proposed rules from the Treasury Department and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) are a significant concern for small business owners, with significant compliance costs and regulatory overreach.

On August 21, 2021, NFIB issued a letter to EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan and Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth in opposition to proposed changes to the definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS), which would expand federal jurisdiction significantly impacting owners with lands that are wet only part of the year.

On July 16, 2021, NFIB issued a letter to Labor Secretary Martin Walsh arguing that the DOL’s proposed revision to rules on tipping did not provide the flexibility to small businesses that federal agencies should give. The government cannot reasonably expect owners in a high pressure small business to monitor, record and report in precise detail the minutes each employee spends in work that directly supports tip-producing work, as the proposed rule would require.

Reforming the regulatory process is one of NFIB’s top legislative priorities. Federal agencies need to do a better job of analyzing the effects of their rules on small businesses and allow more opportunities for small business input.

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