The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy recently released its annual report, Report on the Regulatory Flexibility Act, FY 2016, saying that its implementation of the RFA and other laws saved the country’s small businesses nearly $1.4 billion in foregone regulatory costs in fiscal 2016.
The report analyzes federal agency compliance with the RFA as well as with provisions of the Small Business JOBS Act of 2010 and Executive Order 13272, “Proper Consideration of Small Entities in Federal Rulemaking.”
The RFA requires federal agencies to consider the impact of their proposed rules on small businesses.
The law requires agencies to review proposed regulations that would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities and to consider significant alternatives that would minimize the regulatory burden on small entities while still achieving the rules’ purposes.
The SBA’s chief counsel for advocacy is charged with monitoring federal agencies’ compliance with the act and with submitting an annual report to Congress.
The RFA is the Office of Advocacy’s most effective tool for bringing small business concerns into the regulatory process.
The $1.4 billion in cost savings came from the agency’s work on seven rules that were made final in fiscal 2016:
1. Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Refrigerated Bottled or Canned Beverage Vending Machines (regulatory cost savings: $520,000)
2. Employee overtime rule ($45,638,000)
3. Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A Foreign Workers in the Herding or Production of Livestock on the Range in the United States ($3,784,588)
4. Definition of the Term “Fiduciary”; Conflict of Interest Rule— Retirement Investment Advice ($1,169,550,584)
5. Pesticides, Agricultural Worker Protection Standard Revisions ($10,300,000)
6. Federal Acquisitions Regulation; Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces ($18,700,000)
7. Deeming Tobacco Products to Be Subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as Amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act ($145,000,000)
Savings were achieved as a result of changes between the initial proposed rule and the final rule.
These regulatory successes stem from small business involvement in rulemaking made possible by the RFA.
The Office of Advocacy facilitated this during fiscal 2016 through 27 small business roundtables, 20 public comment letters, work with agencies on small business concerns, and ongoing federal agency training in RFA compliance.