Delaware’s 70,000 small businesses can now sleep a little easier, as a new executive order makes state regulations less burdensome. This is big news for Delaware. Small businesses represent 92 percent of Delaware employers and employ 170,000 workers, or 46.1 percent of all private sector jobs. They contribute significantly to Delaware’s real gross state product and help keep the state’s employment turnover on the positive side. And because of Executive Order 36, their future just got brighter!
Executive Order 36, titled “Review and Reform of State Agency Regulations,” was signed by Gov. Jack Markell on June 14. It formalizes the Markell administration’s support for Delaware small businesses.
Why is Executive Order 36 so important? And why are Delaware small businesses better off because of it? Executive Order 36 does for Delaware what the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) does for small businesses at a national level. The RFA, which Congress enacted in 1980, is a simple statute with a big impact! It requires agencies to consider the economic impact of a regulation on small businesses and consider less burdensome alternatives. The RFA statute deputizes the Office of Advocacy as the guardian of the RFA within the federal government. Implementation of the RFA has helped save small businesses billions of dollars in foregone regulatory compliance costs. In fiscal 2011 that number was a cool $11.7 billion.
So Delaware small businesses have a lot of good things to look forward to. For starters,
• They will have an opportunity to be heard in the rulemaking process by commenting and contributing to the status of state regulations that affect them;
• Regulations that are more than three years old are now subject to review, helping make Delaware an easier place to do business—one less burdened by regulatory clutter;
• These changes will help make the state an even more business-friendly environment, much as the RFA does at the national level; and
• As contributing partners in the state’s regulatory process, small businesses have the potential to influence the state’s regulatory culture, arming state regulators with an understanding of the economic and business impact of regulations, so they might routinely consider less burdensome alternatives to achieve desired regulatory goals.
As the Office of Advocacy, we congratulate the governor, his cabinet, the state legislators, stakeholders, and especially the small businesses themselves. As Advocate for Region III, which includes Delaware, I was especially impressed by the bipartisan effort of the Small Business Caucus and the state’s small business partners in laying the groundwork of this effort. Governor Markell has again reassured small businesses that what we all do in our efforts to support them is not lip service but a dedicated effort to build an environment that is conducive to their success.
—Ngozi Bell, Region III Advocate