Legislators call on business owners to aid in red tape reduction
by Matt Shinall
Feb 14, 2012 | 1676 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With government regulations extending into every business sector, state lawmakers are looking to reduce cumbersome requirements on small business.

Business owners experiencing excessive state regulations to the point of impacting efficiency and profitability are encouraged to contact a new committee formed to explore those areas of concern.

The Small Business Development and Job Creation Committee is an initiative of the Georgia House of Representatives aiming to reduce red tape currently restricting small businesses.

"It is an opportunity for members of the business community, particularly small business owners, to address the General Assembly about areas where the state regulation is impeding their ability to be profitable in their business," said State Rep. Christian Coomer, R-Cartersville. "We want them to identify those areas and let us find ways of cutting those areas of regulation that are in their way right now."

Coomer spoke last week to the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce's Governmental Affairs Committee about the initiative dubbed "Red Tape Watch." Chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee, Jeff Watkins, is encouraged by the state's push to seek information from constituents.

"It would give the opportunity for business owners to come in and point out some of the unfairness in these regulations and how it hinders them trying to make it in these tough economic times," Watkins said. "From the standpoint of small business, it certainly would remove a lot of unnecessary red tape to allow small business to thrive and rein in some of the things that are costly to small businesses that do not do anything to help the public in general."

Red Tape Watch was formed after legislators kept hearing constituent complaints of over-regulation. An example from Coomer cited a case in which a small ice-cream shop owner asked why he was required to have the same size grease trap as a public cafeteria. Specific issues such as this are the reason lawmakers are asking for public input.

"We're talking about very specific cases where the problems arrive and that's why we're asking citizens, business owners, who deal with these cases on a day-to-day basis, to identify them to us. Often times we have areas where there's an unintended consequence from what is a well-intended regulation," Coomer said. "If we don't hear from people in the community who are bearing the brunt of these regulations then we as legislators, who are not experts in every field -- we're just experts in our particular field, we are not going to be able to fix regulatory problems for other people."

Those looking to share their concerns with the committee may do so online at www.tiny.cc/redtapewatch. This online form asks for specific information regarding the state department and regulatory requirements in question. To ensure appropriate follow up, Coomer also requests those submitting an issue for consideration by the committee to include reference to their representative -- for Bartow residents either Coomer, State Rep. Paul Battles, R-Cartersville, or State Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper.

Constituents submitting an issue will have the opportunity to testify in front of the committee to represent their case, if they so choose. A member of the House staff may contact those making submissions to clarify all aspects of the issue.