How does government regulation affect business?
Filed by Ben Allen in Feature.
November 12, 2012
“In Oklahoma, we understand that small businesses are the backbone of Oklahoma’s economy.”
“Every company needs compliance officers and attorneys just to make sure they’re running their business based on the preferences…”
“What can we do to help Oklahoma be the most attractive place for business?…”
It took me fifteen minutes to find those three clips, that’s it. That’s how common politicians and other leaders speak of government regulation. And often, the default position seems to call for less of it, creating more business. Okay, but we’re not here to deconstruct political arguments.
What I did want to know is how regulations affect business on a day to day basis. So we put out a call through our Public Insight Network. A wide range of businesses responded, and we started to get some answers. A child day care in Stillwater.
“The handbook is so large and its one size fits all that there’s not a lot left up to the people to make decisions and so sometimes you just have to figure out the answer.”
That’s Andi Riggs. She owns Oak Tree Children’s Academy along with her mother, employing 10 people full time, with another 30 working part time. She says some regulations added thousands of dollars to her start up costs.
We’ll go white collar, to the banking industry with Roger Beverage.
“Smaller banks have already decided that they can’t keep up with the new rules that govern residential real estate lending. So they’ve gotten out of that business. And they refer their customers to Oklahoma City, or Tulsa, or Lawton, or some other larger area.”
And we’ll take a ride to a trucking company headquartered in the small northern Oklahoma town of Newkirk. Ike Glass runs Glass Trucking, with almost 80 drivers under his supervision.
“We have to clean our flour tanks by clean, I mean we have to clean the interior of those flour tanks, after every seven loads. You can see the amount of things that have to checked on that flour tank. Now these are all government regulations.”
These small business owners deal with mandates. Regulation as a concept is okay, but their common complaints came down to these:
When federal, state, county and city regulations were different,
When they required things that would never get used,
And when they went above and beyond what they thought should be required.
Most actually felt bad for the regulators out in the field, who they say don’t have a whole lot of wiggle room.
All this week, we’ll visit these businesses, and others. What actually goes into getting a small business up and running? What kind of regulations just don’t make sense? Is it possible to pull back regulations while also providing necessary protections for the consumer?
This is an open conversation too. If you’re a small business owner and want to chime in with your experiences with government regulation, just click here.