As I was saying …

Regulatory overkill

We've heard from quite a few members this year who tell us they have been visited more frequently—and treated more harshly—by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors. We haven't yet heard from members who are found in violation of new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules governing lead paint (implementation was delayed). But we expect to. And at last count, there are 744 new federal regulations and rulemakings in the pipeline that could directly affect all small businesses.

A decade-old study by the Small Business Administration (SBA) set the cost of regulatory compliance for businesses with fewer than 500 employees at $5,000 per employee per year. According to SBA, firms with 20 to 49 employees spend, on average, 19 cents of every revenue dollar on regulatory costs. Other studies have estimated federal regulations cause $1.5 trillion in economic output to be lost each year. That's trillion with a "t," and that stands for trouble.

Consider what the roofing industry is facing:

  • The possible elimination of slide guards as an option on roofs with slopes from 4:12 up to 8:12
  • Expansion of EPA's lead paint rules to cover all buildings constructed before 1978
  • Forty-one provisions in the new health care law that require or may require new rulemakings (The bill also requires 38 studies and 59 evaluations.)
  • No less than 100 new rulemakings on the Department of Labor's regulatory agenda
  • Fifteen new regulations moving forward from the Department of Homeland Security, each of which will affect the business community