LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Complex regulations on business stifle the local economy

Monday, February 17, 2014 | 12:21 p.m. CST

As an insurance broker in Columbia, I represent many types of customers in the area who must comply with a wide range of regulations.

While federal regulations are usually created with good intentions, the sheer number of new rules being passed down on the small business owners and manufacturers are forcing local businesses to spend more time and money on compliance.

In my line of work I encounter many business owners who have a hard enough time making ends meet without the added logistical and economic pressures of complying with multiple and oftentimes redundant regulations.

Most of my customers need help understanding, let alone complying with, all of the regulations forced upon them.

I see firsthand how the increasing amount and complexity of regulations negatively impact the people and business owners of Columbia.

When regulations make it harder for business owners to succeed, it makes the entire Columbia community suffer. This is why the federal regulatory process needs to be streamlined to make regulations less complex.

Changing our regulatory process has strong bipartisan support, and I believe our Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill should help make this a priority in Washington.

Wally Pfeffer lives in Columbia.

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Tony Black February 18, 2014 | 12:20 p.m.

How about a list of those regulations?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams February 18, 2014 | 12:43 p.m.

TonyB: I agree. This letter to the editor is toothless without some sort of list, even a partial one. I certainly can make a list of onerous regulations when I owned a business, but I'd like to see the author's list.

PS: I'm sure the author is exactly correct, but his letter is devoid of detail and full of complaint.

(Report Comment)
Skip Yates February 19, 2014 | 1:15 p.m.

I agree on a list;however, making one might be too long for this section. My last job before retiring was Director of Safety for a major government command. I had no problems with the aviation side as that was my professional expertise. OSH was a different matter. Our OSH library of regulations looked like a law office, one entire wall of bookshelves, about 12x8, was filled. There were regulations that countered regulations. It made compliance inspections to our industrial field activities complicated. We once sent a letter to OSHA listing a little over 30 conflicting regs on common compliance inspection items. The response was use the latest, which was an absolute BS answer because most all regulations had multiple sections/parts that may or may not have been related to the primary subject. This further complicated the field activities because they were not sure if inspection findings would be adverse or not. Because of OSH, I couldln't retire fast enough!

(Report Comment)
Tony Black February 20, 2014 | 11:23 a.m.

How long ago was this, Skip? Remember, businesses have just started talking about regulations when Obama came on. Before that, all was peachy.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz February 20, 2014 | 2:34 p.m.

Not true Tony, people have been over-regulated prior to Obama and complained about it. The state of Missouri used to license taxidermists (I think that's gone finally) and requires moving companies approve new competitors entering the market. Many states have unnecessary licensing schemes (interior designers and hair braiders, for example) to protect existing businesses instead of protecting customers as they claim. Bush the Younger added over 50,000 federal regulators during his term as well.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams February 20, 2014 | 3:03 p.m.

TonyB: I've re-read the article, and I've re-read Skip's post. I even re-read all the other posts.

And, you know what? No one...nobody...mentioned Obama. Not once. There was a lot of complaining about regulations that have become more and more onerous, but NO mention of who did what.

The only person who has mentioned Obama

PS: You must be young. Business folks have been complainin' about onerous regulations forever. Heck, I was dealing with them, and complaining about them, back in the early 1980s. My dad complained about them in the 1950s. Obama has just continued the tradition.

Obama is being treated like Bush II was treated. You don't have a problem with that, do you? After all, you were an active participant against the latter, so goose-gander and all that......

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams February 20, 2014 | 3:09 p.m.

Dang. JohnS beat me to it. That'll teach me to take a phone call midway through writing a post.

(Report Comment)
Tony Black February 20, 2014 | 3:11 p.m.

I'm not young. Probably younger than you, but, no I heard nowhere near the whining about regulations than over the last 4 years. I mentioned Obama to save everyone the trouble.

(Report Comment)
Tony Black February 20, 2014 | 3:13 p.m.

Watch Fox. Everything is Obamas fault. Well, except Rand Paul. He thinks it's all Bill Clintons fault

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams February 20, 2014 | 4:18 p.m.

TonyB: Well, watch MSNBC. Do you deny the bias there? If not, then your Fox comment is a

And, remember how everything was Bush's fault? Sheesh, I was embarrassed for Obama. After all, what kind of wuss deliberately applies for a job and then blames the predecessor? In my world, that would get you fired in a real hurry!

If you've not heard about past whining about regulations, then you simply have not been paying attention. You mentioned Obama NOT to save us the trouble. You did it because a favored ox is getting gored and jumped to a partisan conclusion.

PS: Is Fox biased? Yep, you bet. So is Dave Rosman and the Missourian and Rose Nolen, and the KCStar and StL Post-Dispatch. Do you only see one kind of bias?

(Report Comment)
Tony Black February 21, 2014 | 10:23 a.m.

I don't watch MSNBC either. Sorry to burst your bubble. I see no goring either. I hear whining with no specifics. If you want to complain, be specific. Businesses have more cash on hand than ever, yet whine that they make no money, due to un-named regulations. Which is it? Cant make money or don't want to spend it? Which regulations?

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith February 21, 2014 | 11:06 a.m.

Michael & Tony:

I watch old movies on TV; some are much better than either FOX or MSNBC.

I have for several years now opined that here in the United States of Ammerica whining has been elevated to an absolute art form. There should be annual awards.

Note that in making my observation I've not cited any specific group or groups. So many whiners, and so little space to list them all!

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams February 21, 2014 | 11:33 a.m.

TonyB: You don't watch MSNBC either?

The "either" implies you don't watch Fox, yet you know so much of what they say?


You must be psychic or suffer from TV osmosis when the TV is off.

If you go back up in this thread, you'll note all of us agreed the article's author left out some pretty important parts....a list, at least partial, of what he was complainin' about.

For me, FIFRA and various tax regulations were the time-consuming burdens. The former added a solid 30% to costs of projects. Others can speak to their own issues.

"Cant make money or don't want to spend it?"

Me: It's the latter. Uncertainty heightens risk, and a heightened risk puckers the purse strings and a few other body parts besides.

This is a MUCH more subtle effect than most realize. For example, take a look at the perception (and very real) people have at the unemployment numbers. A "5.2%" value is perceived SOOOO much more differently than a "10%" value yet, when considered over a 0 to 100% range, it doesn't seem like much. But, in a nation's economics, it takes only a VERY small change to have a HUGE effect. A million jobs is a big deal, even in a nation of 310 million, because a million jobs means 40 billion in dollars paid for salaries if those salaries are $40K/person. If you heighten risk and slow money velocity by as little as 2-4%, that has a PROFOUND effect upon an economy.

Presidents and Congresses have to be VERY careful. The current group has not been. There is uncertainty. If that uncertainty is only 2-4% of the total business folks....we're in trouble.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz February 21, 2014 | 4:16 p.m.

OK Tony, how about SEC reporting requirements so onerous that public companies pay multiple employees just to produce and file the quarterly and annual reports for them? That there exists a financial printing industry to support those companies? How about that I worked for a startup that found enough companies would rather pay for their software to ease the reporting process? And that this Iowa company now employs several hundred people to help other companies meet government regulations?

(Report Comment)
Skip Yates February 22, 2014 | 1:19 a.m.

@Tony: 1989

(Report Comment)

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