Is the Small Business Regulatory Fairness Board Working for You?

Date: July 19, 2016

Lack of funding and state support set SBRFB up for failure.

Is the Small Business Regulatory Fairness Board Working for You?

Excessive government regulation is an ever-present top concern for small business owners nationwide, and in Missouri, the board in charge of monitoring the regulations that impact small businesses recently failed a state audit.

The Missouri Small Business Regulatory Fairness Board (SBRFB) was established in 2004 to solicit input and conduct hearings for any rules proposed by a state agency, provide input to those state agencies about how rules adversely affect small businesses, and issue evaluation reports to the governor and the General Assembly that make recommendations about regulatory fairness for Missouri small businesses. The board is made up of nine members—four appointed by the governor, four appointed by the leaders of both parties in the Senate and House, and the chair of the Minority Business Advocacy Commission is the ninth.

However, State Auditor Nicole Galloway said the board has not received necessary resources or support from the state in order to fulfill their function. The audit report found that four board positions were vacant, input had not been solicited from small businesses for two years, and regular evaluation reports had not been prepared.

Galloway has issued several recommendations for improvement, which the Legislature and the Department of Economic Development (DED) is called upon to tackle. These fixes will be checked with a follow-up audit next year. The Missouri Times reported that the recommendations include:

  • Developing a process for documenting and tracking proposed regulations, soliciting input from small business owners, and preparing regular evaluation reports
  • Filling all vacant board seats with help from the General Assembly and Governor’s office
  • Working with the DED and General Assembly to ensure adequate funding

In a response sent with the audit report, the SBRFB wrote they agreed with the audit recommendations and noted that these issues were raised in their 2015 annual report, so they welcomed the Galloway’s agreement that these were important problems to be fixed. Meanwhile, the DED responded that the SBRFB was a redundant group that needlessly duplicated other regulatory procedures in place.

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