Unnecessary regulations slowing growth with added costs and paperwork
HARRISBURG, April 30, 2019 – The state House passed four bills today to cut government red tape that, if signed into law, will offer needed relief to small businesses across Pennsylvania. NFIB, an association representing more than 12,500 small businesses in the state, supports the regulatory relief and is grateful to House members who voted to pass the legislation on to the Senate.
“These small businesses don’t have a compliance officer on staff to pour through multiple, complex, and confusing regulations when that business owner is already handling just about every management duty,” said Gordon Denlinger, state director of NFIB in Pennsylvania. “Also, the cost of unnecessary regulations is the biggest burden, which can stymie economic growth and result in fewer jobs for Pennsylvania.”
There are a million small businesses in Pennsylvania, making up more than 99 percent of Pennsylvania’s business community. They employ 2.5 million people and create two out of every three new jobs.
In an NFIB Small Business Research Foundation survey, half of the respondents said the amount of red tape has grown larger over the last three years. One-quarter consider government regulations a “very serious” problem in operating their business. Survey recipients ranked the cost of compliance as the biggest regulatory concern, followed by the difficulty understanding regulations so they can comply. The time spent filling out extra paperwork was ranked third.
“Cutting the red tape that binds small business could lead to a surge in growth, and that would be great news for the Pennsylvania economy and jobs,” added Denlinger. “We encourage the Senate to pass these regulatory relief bills and ask Governor Tom Wolf to sign them into law.”
NFIB is grateful to Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Center), Rep. Dawn Keefer (R-York), Rep. Timothy O’Neal (R-Washington), and Rep. Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland), for sponsoring regulatory reform bills. The bills that passed the House today are described below:
HB 430 (Benninghoff) gives the General Assembly the ability to initiate the repeal of a regulation already in effect by concurrent resolution after a public hearing is conducted. The bill provides a mechanism for the General Assembly to check administrative agencies’ implementation of the laws they passed.
HB 509 (Rothman) requires agencies to post permit information online so the public may track progress, final approval, and the specific reason for any rejection of a permit application. HB 509 provides much-needed transparency in the permitting process so that businesses can better plan and respond to any problems or delays.
HB 762 (O’Neal) requires agencies to appoint Regulatory Compliance Officers to work collaboratively, rather than punitively, with the regulated community, issue advisory opinions, and allow a business that follows the advice not to be penalized. This proposal provides a specific touchpoint where small businesses can work with regulatory agencies to comply without fear of reprisal if they misunderstand or inadvertently misinterpret a rule.
HB 806 (Keefer) requires regulations with an impact to the Commonwealth of more than $1 million to be approved by concurrent resolution of the General Assembly after a public hearing. HB 806 provides accountability for rules with the biggest financial impact on the state by asking elected leaders to review and approve them before they go into effect.
NFIB is disappointed that HB 1055 (Klunk), an additional regulatory reform bill, did not pass the House. This bill would have provided an opportunity to cut existing red tape by creating an Office of the Repealer and requiring that new regulations proposed be accompanied by two for repeal. NFIB encourages the legislature to continue to look for ways to reduce the burden of existing rules on small businesses.