New regulatory strategy aims to help small businesses

Obama says small firms need a break

Small business will get greater consideration from regulators who draw up proposed rules.

The Regulatory Flexibility Act already requires agencies to avoid imposing heavy burdens on small companies and search for ways to minimize those burdens. President Barack Obama wants more of that, according to a memo released this morning.

Agencies must carry out the regulatory law by allowing small businesses more flexibility in meeting the compliance requirements, he said. They should “take into account the resources available to small entities,” Obama wrote.


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For example, Obama directed agency officials to extend the time small businesses have to implement new requirements, such as a new business system.

He wants regulators to consider performance standards rather than meeting detailed design standards. Rules should also simplify reporting and compliance necessities, such as streamlined forms and electronic filing options, the memo states.

The memo also directs agencies to use different standards for small and large companies, or even exempt small companies from particular requirements that larger companies must comply with.

If an agency rule does not have these flexibilities, officials must justify why they aren’t there, the memo states.

“It is especially important for agencies to design regulations in a cost-effective manner consistent with the goals of promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job-creation,” the memo states.

The memo aligns with a small-business task force the administration created in April. One of its duties was to clarify policies that are necessary to aiding small businesses in the federal contracting marketplace.

Today, Obama outlined a new overall regulatory strategy to help boost the economy, along with this small-business memo. In it he pushed for more transparency and accountability in regulatory compliance.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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