LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Removing regulations can improve business, protect workers

Sunday, November 17, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST

As a small business owner, I understand firsthand the unrelenting burden the regulatory environment has had on small businesses. Implementing reasonable reform is one of the simplest, lowest cost ways for public officials, like Senator McCaskill and Senator Blunt, to create new employment opportunities. I encourage them to do so.

I own and operate one of the largest flooring stores in mid-Missouri. Among other things, my business uses chemical adhesives and cleaners for flooring installations that are highly regulated. Many times it is very difficult to get the needed products in a timely manner.  While regulations serve an important purpose, the amount of regulations on many fronts are overwhelming and burdensome for smaller businesses. I was not surprised to learn that nearly 85 percent of small businesses are not hiring and many are pointing the finger at uncertain government regulations as the major culprit. There are currently no better examples of that fact than the absolute uncertainty of the impacts of the Affordable Care Act and the ever increasing utility rates due to the assault on coal to fuel our power plants.

I believe we can continue to protect workers and the environment, while removing some of the more onerous regulatory barriers to growth. It’s abundantly clear that in order to create jobs and expand our economy, America needs to rethink how the size and scope of regulations affect businesses, especially small businesses.   

Dave Griggs owns Dave Griggs Flooring America in Columbia.

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Ellis Smith November 17, 2013 | 7:37 a.m.

We must walk a delicate balance. Removing those bureaucratic barriers could also mean fewer employment opportunities for bureaucrats, and, assuming the federal government would actually terminate their services, would swell national unemployment statistics. Those poor unfortunates might have to find truly productive employment!

Seriously, it is increasingly difficult to believe some regulations serve any purpose other than the act of regulation, and to fuel continued growth of a severely bloated and inefficient federal government.

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin November 17, 2013 | 8:51 a.m.

It's terribly disingenuous of Dave Griggs -- the man who led the charge to blight Columbia using a state government program called EEZ -- to complain about government interference in small business. I wish he'd stay off the editorial pages (he used to have a Trib column, too) trying to convince people he's pro-business. He is pro-Dave, period.

Mr. Griggs is more than happy to take money from government programs when it suits him, as it did with the IBM "incentives", when city and state government handed out millions of taxpayer dollars (that come from other small businesses) to a group of well-connected good ol' boys.

And he would have been supremely happy if state and city government had blighted 60% of Columbia, a regulation that would have had a terrible impact on all kinds of small businesses and their customers -- basically, anyone who owned property in the blighted area.

But then Mr. Griggs criticizes government programs when they take money out of his pocket.

Some examples of Mr. Griggs in action:

(Report Comment)
Tony Black November 19, 2013 | 8:49 a.m.

Having trouble keeping supplies? Maybe it's an inventory control problem, not a regulatory issue. If I know I will have trouble aquiring a product, I get extra so I won't run out.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 19, 2013 | 11:59 a.m.

Tony Black said, "If I know I will have trouble acquiring a product, I get extra so I won't run out."

Excellent policy for individuals and households, but not so good when it comes to businesses. As taught in ALL business and engineering schools in the United States, carrying excess inventory in a buiness incurs costs. That's a major item in cost accounting.

If it were up to engineers in the chemical, metallurgical and other mineral industries we'd carry large stocks of heavily-used raw or purchased materials at all times. Not only would that guarantee we wouldn't run short but it would allow us to do custom blending of different shipments of the same material. (One major duty of engineers in those industries is working out customized bulk blends, given the characteristics of the lots of material available.)

But if we could have that happy situation, the cost accountants would have a "fecal hemorrage," as would the business owners.

There IS such a thing as Just-In-Time (JIT) manufacturing, pioneered by the Japanese. Carried to its extreme, it would mean NO inventories. You can earn your MBA in JIT at MS&T.

IMO JIT is better suited to producing items like automobiles and refrigerators (that is, products assembled from component parts) than it is to the industries I've cited above.

Good engineering is the art of achieving the possible.

(Report Comment)
Tony Black November 19, 2013 | 4:18 p.m.

Ellis, is there anything you can't tie to your long lost college days? Ever heard the saying "you can't sell apples from an empty cart"? There is a difference between excess overstock and enough inventory to complete your promises to customers. I have known 2 business owners in town that both said "if Obama gets elected I am closing my doors". 1 of them has tripled in size and the other has opened 1 new store and almost done with a second, and looking for a location for 3rd new store. Blame it on "regulations" if you want, but I would be Daves'pocket is not any thinner for it. How about a list of those specific regulations, Dave.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 20, 2013 | 6:09 a.m.


I suspect we can agree that inventory control (in business in general and manufacturing in particular) has importance.

Assuming your question to me wasn't just rhetorical and you really want an answer, there are a few areas I haven't yet managed to tie in, but I'm actively working on them. I don't move as fast as when I was only 75.

(Report Comment)
Tony Black November 20, 2013 | 7:46 a.m.

Ellis, That's funny!

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 20, 2013 | 10:51 a.m.

@ Tony:

It was intended to be funny. Good to see we're reading from the same page.

Pax! Hey, isn't that Latin?

[Boyabus kissabus sweeti girlorum,
Girlabus likabus, wanti someorum.
Pater - fuerabus! - entre parlorum,
Kikki puerabus exabus dorum.
Darkabus nightabus! no nus lamporum,
Climabus fencabus, brichabus torem.]

(Report Comment)

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