Repugnant Regulations: The Source, and the Solution

As a small business owner myself, it infuriates me any time I hear about a business that is unable to operate because of a government objection. It stirs up a special part of my inner being with an immense amount of targeted energy. Usually, the local government jurisdiction with control over zoning is the issue – the city, township, county or other small entity. If the business owner doesn’t get anywhere with the bureaucrat telling them what to do, perhaps the business person will call their Representative. As a City Councilwoman, I receive calls like this myself from businesses in my city. And unfortunately, I have dealt with the inefficiencies, inaccuracies and immense power of the government both as a business owner and as a Councilwoman.

English: Mike Kelly, member of the United Stat...

Rep. Mike Kelley

Rep. Mike Kelly also received a call from a constituent. This business owner’s bathroom mirrors were 1/4″ too low, and therefore he wasn’t going to be allowed to open on time. Kelly explained the situation on the US House floor recently, giving a rousing floor speech (video). It must give someone an immense feeling of power and control to know that they can prevent a hard-working business owner from opening their business on time as planned. Who accounts for the lost revenue? Who pays to make the required changes?

Perhaps the best question is: who pays the salary of the bureaucrat? The business certainly contributes, and the owner of that business, not to mention all of the employees. If the employee doesn’t live in the community, it is he/she who has not contributed anything. Yet, somehow this system has gotten turned around and many businesses feel that the leaded boot of the government is engaged in an effort to place a purposeful stranglehold on them. Of course, when you have a President who believes “you didn’t build that” and has a perpetual war on business, it’s difficult to expect anything else.

Repugnant regulations are preventing businesses from focusing on running and growing their companies. If the bureaucrats were smart, they would recognize that more growth in the business means more tax revenue and more funding for the entity where the bureaucrat works. Instead, many government employees prefer to treat the business and the owner as the adversary, as if the businessperson is a bandit skipping away with the utopian perception of the town in which it’s located. We do need some regulations for businesses, of course, especially how the buildings are built. But, there is a point where enough is enough – like telling a business they can’t open because of a 1/4″ different in the placement of the mirrors. What hobbit measured that mirror height anyway?

If your city, township or county has mind-numbed trolls who lack the understanding to discern between serious issues and ones that should not prevent a business from operating, you must make a concerted effort to replace them with individuals who respect and support the risk, efforts and hardships of business men and women. Elect local officials who will support businesses in every way — tax policy, zoning regulations and inspections, and development in general. Ask the appropriate questions during the campaign, and hold their feet to the fire once they’re in office. If you can’t find the right person, put your own name on the ballot. Get your rump off your couch at night, knock on doors in your community and get elected. Retrain the employees. If there isn’t a noticeable different, when a majority of the people on your board or commission are comfortable with making the necessary changes, pass out permanent vacation slips to the people who are the source of the problem. Organize a small advisory group of businesses to meet with your board and the government employees on a regular basis to ensure that they are not encroaching and returning to their former ways.

If you are a business owner who has been absent from local politics in your town, the time to get involved is now. You cannot sit on the sidelines and allow government at all levels to continue the assault. It may take a bit of your spare time, but your employees, family and community will thank you later. We each have to do our part to save the entrepreneurial spirit in this nation, and we won’t always have a “Mike Kelly moment” available to us to communicate our point. Put a stop to the demagoguery, and you will create a place where there are enough rules and regulations to monitor the building, operation and growth of businesses without smothering them. When you return to government by the people instead of government in charge of the people, you will create the environment for businesses to flourish.

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