Majority of Americans Support Reforms to Federal Regulatory Process

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2012  — The American public, by a solid majority, is open and receptive to reforming the federal regulatory process, according to results released today from a nationwide survey conducted last month. The survey, sponsored by the National Federation of Independent Business’ (NFIB) Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations campaign, finds overwhelming public support for five concrete and commonsense reforms that the Obama Administration could implement immediately.  In survey after survey, small businesses across the country have cited regulations as an obstacle to growth and hiring.

“The small-business owners and operators who are the nation’s principal job creators have earned a seat at the table as we look for public policy solutions to grow the economy and put people back to work,” said former U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln, chairwoman of Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations. “Our polling confirms that the public, by clear majorities, believes that the regulatory reforms small businesses are calling for are both reasonable and long overdue.  To ensure a competitive economy, we must reform the regulatory process and remove these roadblocks to growth.”

“The small-business community is one of the most trusted and respected in America,” said NFIB CEO Dan Danner. “The data in this poll is the latest evidence showing how strongly the American people feel about allowing entrepreneurs to have the freedom to make their own decisions about what’s best for their businesses.”

Among the key findings in a nationwide survey conducted for NFIB’s Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations:

  • 74% believe that 4,200 federal regulations in the pipeline are too many
  • 71% have an unfavorable view of the 224 economically significant rules issued last year
  • 63% believe the rules issued by the federal government have done more to hurt than help small businesses
  • 74% believe the federal government should focus on creating jobs instead of issuing new rules and regulations

“The public clearly supports bringing balance to the regulatory system and ensuring that more voices, more accountability, and more commonsense discussion takes place before costly regulations are pursued,” said Senator Lincoln.

Last November, NFIB President Dan Danner and Sen. Lincoln sent a letter to President Obama outlining five principles for regulatory reform and calling for immediate action by the Administration to protect small business’ ability to grow and create jobs. NFIB’s research confirms that Americans, by a large margin, support the reforms to the regulatory system sent to President Obama:

  • 90% favor requiring government agencies, like the EPA and OSHA to work with small businesses to help them comply with new rules instead of fining them for first-time violations
  • 82% favor increasing the transparency and accountability in the federal regulatory process by having independent review
  • 85% favor requiring that all new regulations are designed to have the least possible burden on the economy
  • 81% favor requiring that any small businesses subject to a new rule have input in the design of the regulation
  • 81% favor requiring that regulatory actions are based on objective data and hard science

“It’s relatively rare to find 80%-90% support for a specific reform, but in this case, our polling shows that all five planks of Small Business for Sensible Regulations’ reform plan enjoy overwhelming public support,” said Brenda Wigger, pollster of Voter Consumer Research. “The public clearly sees government regulations as a roadblock to job creation.”

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