Posts Tagged ‘Randi Thompson’

Nevada Small Business Owners Advocate For Fewer, More Sensible Federal Regulations

By Sean Whaley | 4:43 pm July 26th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A pair of Nevada small business owners today said the federal government needs to ease off on its excessive regulatory efforts under the Obama administration if it wants to encourage job growth here and around the country.

Buddy Byrd, owner of Byrd Underground, a construction firm in Las Vegas, and Tim Wulf, owner of two Jimmy John’s sandwich shops in the Reno area, talked about their frustrations with what they say is regulatory overload.

The business owners were enlisted as part of a national effort by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) to “Stop President Obama’s Regulatory Tidal Wave,” a new campaign aimed at stemming the flow of new rules from federal agencies ranging from the EPA to OSHA.

Buddy Byrd.

The NFIB says the next four years could bring hundreds of costly regulations for U.S. businesses and consumers, with nearly 4,100 federal regulations in the pipeline that are estimated to cost the national economy more than half a trillion dollars.

“We’re stepping up the attention to stop this tidal wave and we’ve actually created a new website, called stopthetidalwave.org, to highlight the high number of regulations that could wash over small business in the next four years,” said Nevada NFIB State Director Randi Thompson.  “Because small business creates two-thirds of new jobs, we must remove major barriers to small business job creation, and reducing the regulatory burden is a major step. So in order to help Nevada small business and overall economic recovery, we need sensible, clear and fair regulations.”

Nevada leads the nation in the unemployment rate, and Thompson said a January Gallup poll found that 85 percent of small business owners were not hiring, with 46 percent citing government regulations as a reason for their decision.

Not everyone agrees that federal regulations are stifling job creation.

U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in November 2011 that there is no evidence to support the claim.

“My Republican friends have yet to produce a single shred of evidence that the regulations they hate so much do the broad economic harms they claim,” he said. “That’s because there aren’t any. Conversely there’s plenty of evidence to prove those regulations save lives, prevent asthma attacks, and ensure mom and pops face a fair fight against these multinational corporations and monied interest groups.”

But Byrd said he owns heavy equipment that won’t be permitted to be used on government jobs beginning in 2014 if a proposed EPA rule restricting emissions takes effect. The new rule is forcing him to sell his current equipment to foreign countries and purchase new equipment that will meet the new standards. The old equipment will continue to operate and expel emissions, just not in the U.S., he said.

“It’s costing us a considerable amount of money; I can’t replace that equipment for what I sold it for and so therefore we’re suffering great loss here just to accommodate what they want to do,” Byrd said. “And they don’t have any consideration for the small business.

“We just can’t continue to go down this path and employ people and give them jobs when there is no profit after they regulate us and regulate us and regulate us,” he said.

Wulf expressed concern about OSHA regulations that are taking safety concerns to an extreme and unworkable level, such as instructions on how to avoid being hit in the head by a mop handle.

“Here is an employee of the government, taking my time to teach me some ridiculous thing that I’m supposed to then take time with every one of my employees; like I say, in and of itself it is just laughable. But it is the aggregate effect of all these regulations that just makes you go crazy.”

Some members of Congress are concerned about regulatory overload as well. The House today passed H.R. 4078, the “Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act” which would impose a moratorium on the adoption of regulations between election day and the inauguration of the president. It would also place a freeze on new major regulations until the national unemployment rate falls to 6 percent or below.

The measure passed 245 to 172 on a mostly party-line vote with Republicans primarily in support. Nevada Reps. Mark Amodei and Joe Heck, both R-Nev., supported the measure. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., voted no.

Audio clips:

NFIB State Director Randi Thompson says multiple new regulations could take effect in the next four years:

072612Thompson1 :12 next four years.”

Thompson says the regulations are a barrier to hiring:

072612Thompson2 :17 and fair regulations.”

Construction company owner Buddy Byrd says regulations are keeping him from hiring:

072612Byrd1 :19 want to do.”

Byrd says there is too much regulation:

072612Byrd2 :15 and regulate us.”

Tim Wulf, owner of two Jimmy John’s sandwich shops, says it is the aggregate of the regulations that is overwhelming:

072612Wulf :18 you go crazy.”

 

Nevada Small Business Owners Say Minimum Wage, Construction Defect Laws Hampering Job Growth

By Sean Whaley | 2:27 pm February 14th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Members of the Nevada chapter of a small business organization say the state’s minimum wage and construction defects laws are hampering job growth in the state.

The state’s prevailing wage law was also cited as a drag on economic development in the survey of its members by the Nevada chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business.

Randi Thompson, Nevada state director of NFIB, said about 50 of the 1,800 members statewide responded to the survey, which was conducted in December and delivered to Steve Hill, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Hill had asked what laws and regulations needed to be changed to spur job growth in Nevada.

“We were delighted at the invitation and jumped at the chance to contribute our members’ ideas on how to get our state’s economy moving again,” Thompson said. “When coupled with the results from our regular annual balloting of NFIB members, the results of which will be out soon, we believe the state will have a much firmer grasp on where it needs to go once it has the opinions of the Nevada’s leading job-generators.”

Thompson said Gov. Brian Sandoval has made it clear that he wants to make the state an even more business friendly state with his call earlier this month to eliminate or revamp more than 1,700 state regulations following a one-year review.

“Small businesses account for nearly two thirds of all new hires on average, making them a critical component to lead Nevada out of this recession,” she said.

Sandoval said today he believes all three issues will come up for discussion in the 2013 legislative session based on what he has heard from some lawmakers.

Sandoval said he supported changes to the construction defect legislation in 2011 and will do so again next year.

“Particularly with regard to mandatory attorneys’ fees in those cases,” he said. “I’d like to see some reform with regard to that. I’ve had several conversations with the contractors on that issue.”

Thompson said repealing Nevada’s minimum wage law will not be a top priority in 2013 just because of the time it takes to change the state constitution.

“I think the one we can take a bite-sized chunk out of is the construction defects,” she said. “My folks pretty much just want to revoke it. They want to pull out the whole chapter. They don’t want to sit down and negotiate it. It is so driven towards lawyers and not toward protecting consumers that that law needs dramatic change.”

Changes to the prevailing wage law would give taxpayers more public construction projects for their money, Thompson said.

“You still will make a good living wage, but prevailing wage is not a market-based wage,” she said. “And the way we do prevailing wage in this state is probably something else that our Labor Commissioner needs to look at.”

Respondents to the NFIB survey said they wanted to entirely revoke the construction defects law contained in Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 40, which Thompson said opens the door to class action lawsuits against any contractor or subcontractor involved in building homes, apartments, or condominiums – regardless of responsibility for the defect.

Ray Pezonella, owner of Pezonella Associates, an engineering firm in Reno, said that construction-defects legal fees costs him anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 each year, whether his work was connected to the defect or not. Because that amount is below his insurance deductible, he has to pay for it directly.

Reno businessman Ray Pezonella. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

“The lawyers just sit down and tell you it will cost you ‘X’ to settle the suit, or we’ll go to court,” Pezonella said. “Even if we did nothing wrong on the job, we write them a check. Where is the justice in that?”

The concern with the minimum wage provision in the state constitution is that it has the effect of setting the Nevada rate at $1 over the federal minimum wage rate.

Thompson said there is interest in the small business community for removing such “tax and wage” issues from the state’s constitution, or in the alternative, seeking an exemption for tipped employees.

Tax policy should not be set in the constitution, she said.

Voters put the minimum wage rate in the state constitution, however, and repealing it would require the state Legislature to approve a change in two sessions, which would then have to be approved by voters.

State Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, introduced legislation in the 2011 session to begin the process of removing the minimum wage requirement from the state constitution, but the measure did not survive.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the minimum wage proposal, which continues to be strongly defended by the Nevada state AFL-CIO, which qualified the measure for the ballot.

Thompson said the third issue, which is the practice of paying prevailing wage on government funded construction projects such as schools and roads, is a concern because it adds to the costs that must be paid by taxpayers.

Some states have implemented changes to their prevailing wage laws, and some Nevada lawmakers are considering changes as well, she said.

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Audio clips:

Gov. Brian Sandoval says all three issues are expected to be debated in the 2013 legislative session:

021412Sandoval1 :08 debated in 2013.”

Sandoval says he supports changes to the construction defect law:

021412Sandoval2 :23 on that issue.”

Randi Thompson, Nevada state director of NFIB, says changes to the construction defect law are possible in 2013:

021412Thompson1 :21 needs dramatic change.”

Thompson says reforming the prevailing wage law would save taxpayer money:

021412Thompson2 :15 to look at.”

 

Group Fighting Excessive Federal Regulation Grows To 170 Members In Nevada, 1,000 Nationwide

By Sean Whaley | 4:36 pm November 22nd, 2011

CARSON CITY – A group established by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) to fight against excessive federal regulations now has 170 members in Nevada and 1,000 nationwide, the organization announced this week.

The coalition Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations says its mission is protecting small businesses and American jobs from the impacts of costly federation regulations.

Dry cleaners. / Photo courtesy of Simon Law via Flickr.

Coalition Chairwoman and former U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln said of the 1,000 member mark hit Monday: “Small businesses across America are rallying behind the need for sensible regulations. With federal regulatory requirements being finalized daily in Washington, small businesses are struggling to balance compliance costs and paperwork with their ability to fill orders, add staff, and stay afloat.

“As our coalition grows, we stand united in calling on President Obama to halt the issuance of new regulations until much needed reforms are made to the rule-making process,” she said.

Randi Thompson, Nevada state director for NFIB, said today that the cause has hit a nerve with small businesses throughout the state. The group has reached out to about 3,000 businesses so far.

“I’d say more than anything it is folks that are impacted by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency),” she said. “But the EPA is touching everything, from construction to dry cleaners to truckers. They’ve got such a broad reach, that that’s probably the most frustrating agency for Nevada businesses.”

A wide variety of businesses have joined, from landscapers to dentists to dry cleaners to construction companies, Thompson said.

“It is a broad spectrum of businesses,” she said.

Not everyone is convinced that federal regulations are hampering job growth.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in a speech on the Senate floor on Nov. 15 called the idea a myth, citing the Labor Department that found “only a tiny fraction of layoffs have anything at all to do with tighter regulation.”

Nevada coalition members recently traveled to Washington, DC, to meet with their elected representatives to discuss their concerns, and it is shaping up as an election issue in 2012, Thompson said. The group met with the Republican members of Nevada’s delegation.

Earlier this month, NFIB President Dan Danner and Senator Lincoln submitted a letter to President Obama urging adoption of five principles into the regulatory process that would help balance the rule-making system.

The standards include giving a seat to small businesses throughout policy discussions, and focusing on providing assistance to small businesses instead of levying costly penalties. The letter also asked that regulators conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis of all new rules, and base policy decisions on validated science and hard data. Finally, it called on lawmakers to make the regulatory process more transparent and accountable to the public.

The Nevada NFIB highlighted the concerns over excessive regulation in October when Reno businessman Raymond Pezonella described the cost of excessive regulation on his soil sampling business.

GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval, upon taking office in January, ordered a freeze on most regulations as a pro-business move. He also recently wrote to President Obama asking to help ease the permitting process for mines.

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Audio clips:

Randi Thompson, Nevada state director for NFIB says EPA regulations are a major concern of Nevada businesses:

112211Thompson1 :24 for Nevada businesses.”

Thompson says she is not surprised by the level of concern:

112211Thompson2 :32 make a difference.”

 

 

Reno Businessman Speaks Out As New Effort Launched To Fight Excessive Regulations

By Sean Whaley | 3:51 pm October 25th, 2011

RENO – Businessman Raymond Pezonella said today he knew the burden of complying with government regulations had hit a new level of absurdity after an all-day audit resulted in an $8.99 gas tax charge to his company because of a trip to California that his workers had failed to record.

“This took two of my people all day long,” he said. “That guy tied up my conference room all day to do this document.”

Reno businessman Raymond Pezonella says regulations are becoming an increasingly burdensome part of his business. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

In another recent encounter with the regulatory process, Pezonella said he was visited by a federal employee who wanted to inspect gauges used by his company for soils testing because they contain a small amount of a radioactive element that potentially could be a homeland security concern.

But safety did not appear to be the main concern during the visit by the representative of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Office of Hazardous Materials Enforcement, he said. Instead, his firm was fined $480 for failing to provide a proper shipping name. He was assessed another $1,400 for failing to maintain a package document.

Pezonella said he fought the fines and ended up paying $150. The state had just reviewed his business and gave him a top rating, he said.

The anecdotes point out the increasing regulatory burden placed on small business, he said.

“The biggest change is the attitude,” Pezonella said. “I think at one time people were working together. Governmental people were here, but they were here to help. Now they seem like they’ve taken an attitude well, every time they step on your door, they’re here not to help you but to figure some way to fine you for something you did wrong.

“I think it’s them against us,” he said. “Is it revenue generating? What is it for?”

Pezonella, in businesses for 35 years, offered himself up as an example of a businessman facing an increasing level or regulation and a more adversarial relationship with federal agencies as part of a project of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) called Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations.

Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations was launched nationally this summer and has since grown to nearly 1,000 members, with 170 of those in Nevada.

The national effort is focused on protecting small businesses and American jobs from the impacts of regulations recently proposed by the Obama administration, said Randi Thompson, NFIB state director.

“Continual regulations that are hurting small business are only going to delay any kind of recovery in this recession,” she said. “I’m not saying all government regulations are bad. We’re just saying there has to be a sensible balance here.”

The average small business spends about 20 hours a week to comply with federal regulations, not counting state or local rules, Thompson said.

There are 4,000 new federal regulations in the pipeline, she said.

Streamlining regulations to encourage job growth is a major topic both nationally and in Nevada, which has the highest unemployment rate in the country.

Gov. Brian Sandoval last month sent a letter to President Obama seeking to ease the permitting process for mining development in the state to help create jobs. U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., elected to congress last month in a special election, said one of his first objectives was to meet with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on the issue of land use regulations.

Even President Obama has vowed to ease the regulatory burden on business.

Thompson said there have been a few successes in stopping the implementation of some regulations, such as a proposed federal change to require farm equipment drivers to have commercial driver’s licenses.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has denied it was considering such a regulation.

But while the Obama administration has announced an effort to reduce the regulatory burden, new regulations are being adopted at a rate of 10 a week, Thompson said.

While the intent of many of the regulations is good, Pezonella said they are being implemented at an ever-growing rate, requiring about 40 hours a month now to deal with in his business.

“They make them faster than I can read them,” he said.

Pezonella said he visits Washington, DC, and meets with his elected representatives every year to raise the concerns of excessive regulation, but nothing seems to change.

“I don’t think they have control over some of these departments,” Pezonella said. “I think they call but it doesn’t matter to these guys. They go do their own thing.”

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Audio clips:

Reno businessman Raymond Pezonella says government officials used to be helpful:

102511Pezonella1 :21 you did wrong.”

Pezonella says he would like to know why federal officials have become so adversarial:

102511Pezonella2 :14 is it for?”

NFIB State Director Randi Thompson says overly burdensome regulations will delay the country’s economic recovery:

102511Thompson1 :06 in this recession.”

Thompson says all regulations aren’t bad, but there needs to be some balance:

102511Thompson2 :09 in the pipeline.”