New Poll Shines Light on Big Small-Business Headache

Date: February 16, 2017

Unanimous approval of two bills in Washington Legislature could provide some relief

Contact: Patrick Connor, NFIB/Washington State Director, [email protected]
or Tony Malandra, Senior Media Manager, [email protected]

OLYMPIA, Wash., Feb. 16, 2017—A new poll on regulations released today by the nation’s leading small-business association comes on the heels of actions taken yesterday by the Washington Legislature that could help lessen the severity of a huge small-business headache.

“Unlike tax policy, which broadly impacts all firms in much the same way, regulations are administered by a myriad of government agencies, at different levels of government impacting sometimes very narrowly defined types of businesses,” reports the NFIB National Small Business Poll, Regulations. “Thus, it is difficult to construct a comprehensive approach to easing the burden. However, the better policymakers understand the impact of regulations on small-business owners, the more able they will be to lessen the burden.”

Patrick Connor, NFIB’s Washington state director, offered a local observation about his association’s survey of 750 small-business owners across the nation. “These findings mirror recent reports in the Evergreen State where the state auditor’s office identified substantial shortcomings in state agency adherence to the Regulatory Fairness Act (RFA). That law requires mitigation when rules would impose more than a minor cost on small businesses.”

The poll notes, “All levels of government contribute to the regulatory compliance burden. Each level of government imposes its own regulatory burden on small business. But the main culprit for half of small employers is the federal government. Thirty percent find regulations promulgated at the state level most burdensome while 15 percent are impacted on the local level.”

In Washington state, NFIB has been a key negotiator in legislative and administrative efforts to address the problem of regulations. “NFIB and others in the business community support giving agencies better tools and training so they can properly comply with the RFA,” said Connor. “Small businesses should not continue to be penalized with unnecessary compliance costs when state government fails to properly determine the true burden proposed rules would impose on job creators.”

Additionally, NFIB is the driving force behind House and Senate bills to establish a small business bill of rights inventory to ensure small-business owners are informed of their rights when an agency official arrives to audit, inspect or perform other enforcement actions. The Senate approved Senate Bill 5230, yesterday, on a 46-0 vote, and later in the day, the House State Government, Elections, and Information Technology Committee approved a companion measure, House Bill 1352, also unanimously. 


For more than 70 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as America’s economic engine and biggest creator of jobs. NFIB’s educational mission is to remind policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of bigger businesses; they have very different challenges and priorities.

National Federation of Independent Business/Washington
711 Capitol Way South, Suite 505
Olympia, WA 98501
Twitter: @NFIB_WA


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