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What Small Business Owners Are Saying About Obama's Regulatory Record

Washington, May 8 -

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Small companies don’t have the resources that large corporations have to focus on regulatory compliance, and as a result, small businesses bear a regulatory cost that is 36% higher than large businesses. 

Ahead of today's committee hearing on this very topicsmall business owners shared how current regulations, under the Obama Administration, affect their plans for the future through the Committee’s interactive website, “Small Biz Open Mic.” 

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As a small defense contractor, my company faces the same issues documented in this forum. I would also highlight the following: a. The Affordable Health Care Act - I am still under the size that REQUIRES coverage, I OFFER a full HC package in order to attract and retain my employees. As my corporate premiums rise, I have been absorbing the costs out of corporate profits. While I could discontinue the coverage and let my employees 'fend for themselves' on the state exchanges, I won't. They have been loyal and I'll do whatever it takes to return the trust. b. Banking Regulation - I have positive cash flow, 3 years of growth and no longer qualify for a line of credit because of the new stricter requirements. This means I can't increase my workforce until I have enough cash in the bank to cover the increased payroll for at least 90 days. I have refrained from yelling at my local banker, since his hands are tied. So we're back to: If you need a loan, you automatically don't qualify because you need a loan. What have I done, as far as cost control? - My salary stopped 3 years ago.

Judith McCarty (Huntsville, AL) Interoptek, Inc 5/6/2013
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We experienced a 7% payroll tax increase which affected our small bottom line drastically. I am on the edge of dropping health care because of a 22% increase coming as a DIRECT result of Obamacare. My premiums actually dropped the last 2 years. Recently I had to go through a vetting process by the Veterans Administration in order to provide services. The process looked into my personal finances and deeply into my business financials. I don't show my tax returns and personal finances to the private sector and the VA nor any other agency should be looking at these things. The biggest issue at hand is that I can't get loans to expand our business. the SBA process and scrutiny does not encourage loans.

Lynn Williams (Houston, TX) Advanced Imaging Management 5/8/2013
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SAS is an independent company that administers consumer accounts in response to referrals by attorney firms and other regulated entities who provide a variety of services. Federal Trade Commission Telecommunication Sales Rule (TSR) Section 310.4(a)(5)(ii) mandates this level of consumer protection and describes how the process must be structured. We have been diligent in following the guidelines when setting up these consumer accounts with our chosen financial institution. Recently, our financial institution notified us that it would no longer maintain our accounts effective June 17, 2013 citing unacceptable risk detailed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency rule, OCC 2001-47. This action points up the contradictory nature of competing Federal agencies designing laws with no regard to the adverse effects on consumers who number in the thousands, if not millions. If a replacement institution cannot be found in the time allotted, our company will be forced by this regulatory conflict to cease operations leading to certain consumer harm. It would seem that the zeal with which Federal regulatory agencies write law must be tempered to avoid these sorts of consequences.

Steve Stratford (Lake Havasu City, AZ) Secure Account Service, LLC 5/6/2013
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I currently cover 100% of the medical costs for my employees to include premium payments and maximum contributions to HSA accounts. I have recently received an updated quote from my insurance provider. Citing the Affordable Care Act, my insurance provider is quoting a 100+% increase in the cost of my premiums next year. While we are shopping around, this may result in my no longer being able to cover the entire cost of my employee's medical benefits, impacting my employees and eventually my business as my ability to recruit and retain is degraded.

Jason Keen (Huntsville, AL) IERUS Technologies 5/6/2013
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Recently we have been contacted by the Commerce Dept to complete this survey Space Deep Dive which admittedly will take 14 hours to complete and asks for confidential financial information. Attached is the response I got from one person at the Commerce Department when I complained about being selected. "Thank you for your email. I apologize for the delay in our response. Your company was identified to be an indirect supplier to the space industry through the supply chain. This study is designed to analyze the entire supply chain of the space industry as well as learn about your company's capabilities, directly space-related or otherwise. Our fundamental goal in this assessment is to highlight your company's capabilities to current and potential customers in the U.S. Government. Your contribution is important to the general understanding of the space industrial base, and will help promote better strategic planning on the part of the U.S. Government." I spent at least 14 hours completing this and I am still getting emails asking further questions. I don't have time to complete surveys for the government and run my business. Why don't they understand this.

Debara Valeri (North Wales, PA) Laurell Tech 5/6/2013
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For us this question comes too late for our small business. After 23 years in business, we closed our business this year. Between the economy, and the additional costs to support our employees we were forced out of business. If we had received payroll tax relief when Obama took office, we would still be in business, as we were an S corp. And the other reason was capital lending to small businesses because of the bank bailout, was non-existent. Small businesses take the largest hits in the American economy, and work the most hours and worry the most every night where to get the capital to continue. Small businesses worry about employees, payroll, taxes and cash flow. America is built on a capitalistic free market economy yet we do not support the foundations (small businesses) of our economy.

Debbie Engel (Portland, OR) JRE 5/6/2013
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    We have lead laws, OSHA, DOT, Wetlands, critical dunes, and on and on. We have too many regulations to be enforced. We can not afford to enforce them. Examine why, then at what cost. 

Zeak DeWyse (Engadine, MI) Dewyse Construction 5/6/2013
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Our company helps US manufacturers compete in a globalized environment by conducting "Last Mile Manufacturing" here in the US. We help US companies protect their Intellectual Property (IP), reduce risks exposure to foreign manufacturers, become more flexible and reduce the impact of transportation costs. "Last Mile Manufacturing" is a truly revolutionary idea whose time has come and is especially valuable in protecting American IP. However, it is difficult to compete against international manufacturers when payroll taxes, medical insurance costs, and workman's comp costs are as high as they are. To really bring back manufacturing jobs, I think some kind of reduced cost scheme in the above areas along with an effort to evangelize the benefits of manufacturing domestically would be helpful.

Sandeep Duggal (Milpitas, CA) Extron, Inc. 5/6/2013
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We have been audited by the IRS three times in four years. It is very hard to run my business by their harassment. We have created nineteen good paying jobs and have always paid our taxes on time. We asked why the do this and they said the computer kicks out our tax return but the do not know why, they said it just the luck of the draw. We have to hire a CPA at $75.00 per hour to answer their questions, this had made a hardship onour small business because we would like to hire more people but can not.

Glenn Spencer (Jeffersonville, IN) Spencer Machine & Tool Co. Inc. 5/6/2013
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My husband and I are the owners and sole employees of a small, high tech business. He's a ballistic genius, with US patents on ammo technologies. We design, manufacture, and sell very high performance ammo for SWAT teams, bomb squads, and serious hunters and shooters throughout the USA. The innovations we've created could solve numerous security and environmental problems... if we were allowed to actually work at our own business. Instead, in our two person business, we spend over half of our time dealing with required government paperwork: licenses, permits, special reports and taxes. We are required to maintain over a dozen separate licenses or permits from the federal, state, and local governments to run our business -- over a dozen, for a two person business. We had foreign governments seriously inquire about purchasing our ammunition for use by their air marshals, but exporting even one round of small arms ammunition is so highly regulated that the permit fees and time make it impossible to export unless you are a very large business. Nonetheless, simply because foreign governments asked, the US Dept of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Control, wants us to spend two weeks of time and pay over $5,000/year to register with them. We refuse to comply because we can't afford to export with the fees and time required, and I don't think we should have to register unless we export. We ship our ammo to qualified buyers throughout the USA, with a better vetting process (approved by the ATF) than is required for in-person sales. Despite being licensed by the federal government to make ammo for sale to others, to ship that same ammo by air, rather than ground, would require special classes and a $300 fee in how to fill out HazMat paperwork. Again, business logic dictates the prudent solution of shipping by ground to avoid insane HazMat fees and paperwork.To say that excessive government regulations are unfairly applied to small, innovative, cutting edge businesses, and are effectively killing entepreneurship and innovation in this country would be a gross understatement. Expecting us to deal with dozens of licenses, rules, regulations, and bureaucracies, and their conflicting policies makes it impossible to be profitable and successful as a very innovative, but very small, start-up business. We truly are the poster child for how government is inadvertently killing small businesses. 

Becky Davis (Goleta, CA) Custom Cartridge, Inc. 5/7/2013
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Recognizing the importance of entrepreneurs’ feedback in the process of shaping the very policies that will help determine their business sustainability and growth, Chairman Graves launched Small Biz Open Mic in September of 2011.