Originally created 02/02/05

Governor wants law to assist business



ATLANTA - Pledging to rein in government regulation of businesses in Georgia, Gov. Sonny Perdue said Tuesday that he will push for more efficient rule-making.

"We want to find and extinguish dumb regulations around the state," Mr. Perdue told a group of small-business owners during their annual meeting at the state Capitol.

While many of the lawmakers stopping by Tuesday's forum described proposals to change the state's civil justice system as the top business priority, they also pointed to relief from certain taxes and bureaucratic requirements.

Sen. Ross Tolleson, R-Perry, said the Regulatory Flexibility Act is expected to be completed this week and ready for introduction to the Legislature.

The bill would require state agencies to consider the potential negative impacts their proposals would have on small businesses, including what additional administrative costs would be created, whether jobs could be threatened and whether alternatives would be less of a burden for owners.

It also would call for a cost-benefit analysis on any new state-mandated business rules.

"You do it in your business before you expand, so we need to do the same with the regulations," Mr. Tolleson said.

A national version applying to federal agencies passed in 1980, and several states are considering similar proposals.

Small-business owners take on a disproportionate share in complying with government regulations, according to a study from the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy.

It found that companies with fewer than 20 workers face a regulatory burden of $6,975 per employee each year - a 60 percent higher load than firms with more than 500 workers have.

Business owner Lee Muns, of Columbia County, said he would like to see a system that keeps him from filling out the same information on both state and federal forms.

The night before attending the meeting in Atlanta, Mr. Muns spent hours working with his accountant, compiling year-end forms for the government, including tax reports for unemployment taxes and sales and use.

"It takes enough day in and day out to run a business, then you need to streamline as much as you can the regulatory requirements," said Mr. Muns, who owns Muns Welding and Mechanical Inc. in Beech Island, S.C.

"I understand there's certain things that have to be done, but when you apply it to me, use a business mindset so that you understand what I have to go through in order to turn it back around," he said.