Nobody really thinks about how the federal agencies come into play in a campaign year – but some of the costly factors to business owners come out of regulations decided upon within these agencies. Regulations aren’t bad – OSHA keeps the workplace safe, EPA keeps the environment safe, and the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the DoL keeps your wages high on Davis Bacon jobs.
But what does it mean for the way you conduct business and how it affects our federal budget? OSHA increased its fine and inspections in FY 2010 to record numbers (they had 2200 inspectors in FY 2011 and 41,000 inspections – nearly 3000 more than in FY 2006). An even better example – WHD had an operating budget that increased by $20,032,000 from 2002 – 2008; from 2009 -2010 there was a $34,514,000 increase.
Whoever controls the presidency controls the agencies and the priorities each agency handles. The Dept. of Labor and OSHA cracked down on businesses, legislation was put into effect requiring Davis Bacon wages, and other agencies started looking at further regulations causing higher costs for both consumers and producers. Last year we saw a new regulation as it relates to the Americans with Disabilities Act (assisted listening devices), the EPA decided not to pursue a regulation affecting a larger portion of commercial construction and lead paint removal and then there’s the rogue group – the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that has caused a lot of pain and heartache associated with poster rules, labor disputes and trying to enforce portions of “card check” that mean quicker elections and less time to educate employees on the pros and cons of labor representation.
NSCA members have reported fines over $100,000 in labor disputes, up to 35% more labor costs because of EPA regulations and more time spent doing administrative paperwork then designing and installing systems. So how does this affect your vote in November?
Issue: Big Government or Little Government
Impact: Agencies affect our federal budget –
- WHD requested an additional $15,223,000 and 107 FTE, yet our federal deficit, as of today is more than 16 trillion dollars, the budget has had a trillion dollar deficit for 4 years running, and with the looming sequestration, small businesses are concerned about jobs they rely on due to federal funding. Don’t you wish that you could run your business this way? Budget deficits and yet you increase your spending and hiring?
With increased spending in some of these key agencies, it means there are more investigators and fines issues, causing an increase in administrative efforts to manage inspections and paperwork associated with the regulations.
In terms of Card Check – Congress was unable to pass the controversial and detrimental legislation, but the president nominates and in some cases just appoints leaders to manage agencies, furthering the control these groups have. Because of Congress failure (one thing we can be happy about) the NLRB is trying to enforce the key provisions of Card Check which will help big labor grow and push out small businesses.
There are two distinct differences in the Democratic and Republican mindsets – and one prefers government involvement in everything we do and the other says individuals should be more in charge of themselves.
This philosophy is important when it comes to our federal budget, regulations and appropriations that affect your ability to conduct business with profits. We should be focused on the big picture items – the economy, job growth, national security – that should be the focus of these elections and making sure that programs and special interest projects – often associated with the federal agencies don’t add additional burdens and increases to our deficit.
Small business owners understand the sacrifices of slashing spending, looking for new revenue generating opportunities and in some cases reducing the workforce in order to maintain business. Shouldn’t the government be expected to do the same?