The National Federation of Independent Business called on local Fredericksburg business owner Joe Wilson to join Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling on an effort to bring attention to what they said is a tidal wave of federal regulations that are adversely impacting small businesses.
On Thursday, Bolling, Wilson and Dona Danziger, owner of the remodeling and tile business Clay Werks in Exmore, joined the NFIB on a conference call with journalists.
Wilson owns Perma-Treat Pest Control. He started the business in 1967 and he has 120 employees and 125 business vehicles. He said federal regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are hurting small businesses. Wilson said the Obama administration is passing more federal regulations instead of trying to pass actual legislation.
"OSHA regulations, especially the ones that have come out recently, are really confusing the way they are written," Wilson said on the conference call. "You really have to study to figure out whether you are covered or not by these regulations and that is a huge problem for small businesses."
Wilson also said he has an issue with the National Labor Relations Board wanting to force businesses to post notices that explain to employees how to start a union.
"What they are doing is disconcerting," he said. "That's akin to asking a happily married couple to post a notice on the bulletin board in their kitchen about what steps to take if you want a divorce. They are very active and they border on harassing businesses."
Wilson also said the federal government is forcing consumers to use gasoline with ethanol and that's costing his business.
"That cuts my gas mileage by what I estimate at least 15 percent," he said.
During an interview before the conference call, Wilson said some of the EPA regulations on using pesticides near open water are necessary, but the EPA cast the net so wide that it catches "those of us who really don't have anything to do with that."
"The fact of the matter is the feds have gotten so entrenched in our lives they are telling us what kind of gasoline to put in our cars, what kind of toilets to put in our bathrooms and what kind of light bulbs to screw into our light sockets," he said. "Are they going to start telling you what kind of bed sheets you can put on your bed? Where does it end?
Danziger said the EPA mandate to test for lead paint has cost her business. She said she had to get a $550 certification and must renew it every five years.
"This mandate is such a far-reaching debacle that it certainly had an impact on my business," she said.
Bolling said that in his role as Virginia's chief job creation officer, he travels the state weekly to chat with large- and small-business owners. He said with nearly 4,100 federal regulations in the pipeline, the estimated cost to the American economy is more than $500 million.
"The two most important things that businesses talk to me about from a cost standpoint is the impact of excessive taxation and excessive regulation on their business," he said. "If you look objectively over the past four years, it is pretty clear that the regulatory burden that is being imposed in our country is out of balance, out of control and it is crushing American business, and small businesses are perhaps influenced by this out-of-control regulatory burden more than anyone else because they don’t have the resources many times to deal with heavy handed regulators."
The NFIB announced that it launched a new website called Stop the Tidal Wave in response to the concerns about federal regulations.
Want Fredericksburg news and information in your inbox? Learn more about free newsletters here.