Coping with Regulation
• Seventeen (17) percent of small employers term regulation a “very serious” problem. Twenty-seven (27) see it as a “somewhat serious” problem while 26 percent believe the problem is “not too serious.” Twenty-nine (29) percent describe the problem as “not at all serious.” Owners of larger, small firms are more likely to describe regulation as a very serious or somewhat serious problem.
• Most small-business owners are unhappy with the hassles regulation creates for them rather than the limits it places on their freedom of action. Specifically, 26 percent identify the extra paperwork created by regulation as their primary concern; 22 percent note the difficulty understanding what is needed to be in compliance; the same number mention the dollars expended to comply; nine percent believe the primary problem associated with regulation is the time delay it causes; and seven percent each feel the difficulty locating new regulatory requirements and the limits placed on the actions they want to take are the principal difficulty regulation creates for them.
• The Federal government is considered the primary culprit (49%); state government follows in culpability (35%); state and local regulations create the fewest problems (13%).
• About half see their regulatory problem as the overall volume of regulations emanating from a plethora of government agencies. The other half view it as a few specific regulations coming from one or two agencies.
• Small-business owners most often (36%) identify tax-related regulations, federal, state, and local, as the most burdensome type of regulation. Operational regulations such as occupational licensing and rules governing the conduct of a particular industry are cited with next greatest frequency (21%). Environmental and land use regulations (17%), health or safety regulations (11%), and regulations associated with the terms and conditions of employment (9%) follow.
• Eighty-two (82) percent of small-business owners typically discover new regulatory requirements in the normal course of business activity. Twelve (12) percent periodically search relevant materials to locate new requirements.
• Small-business owners run across new or altered regulatory requirements in several locations with no single location dominating. Likely sources include: trade publications, newsletters or Web sites (68%), other affected business owners (66%), and outside advisors such as an accountant or lawyer (63%). Those who actively search for new regulations are most apt to do so using trade publications, trade Web sites, or conferences (71%) or special newsletters (61%).
• Once small-business owners are aware that they must comply with a particular regulation, they most frequently check out the compliance requirements themselves (62%). Twenty-one (21) percent of owners usually engage an expert and 13 percent customarily assign an employee to gather the information.
• One or more government officials entered 42 percent of the nation’s small businesses in the last 12 months to inspect them, examine their licenses or records or otherwise check on their compliance with a government rule.