When We All Work Together, Good Things Happen

Article excerpt

Message from the Acting Chief Counsel

The Office of Advocacy's job is to deliver data-driven input on small businesses to Congress, federal agencies, and the White House. Our office's role is part of a multipronged approach to smart regulation - rules that implement the intentions of Congress while providing flexibility to prevent small businesses and their employees from suffering undue harm. This role is all the more critical in today's challenging economy.

As small businesses' representative within government, Advocacy helps small entities navigate complex, voluminous regulations. These regulations can stretch to dozens and dozens of detailed pages of precise legal prose in the Federal Register. These draft regulations are hard work for seasoned lawyers to unravel, let alone business owners from all walks of life.

Through our research, Advocacy provides policymakers with an accurate picture of small businesses' contributions and challenges in communities across the country. Our research probes the effects on small business of major trends in health insurance, international trade, education and training, and veterans' issues. Advocacy economists also commission data directly from the U.S. Bureau of the Census in order to fill gaps in the available economic data on small business.

Our research also shows that small businesses are leaders in tackling some of our toughest problems. Innovative small businesses are at the forefront of developing green technologies, providing telecommunications services, and advancing medical research and service delivery. How do we know this? In addition to the colorful success stories of daring entrepreneurial startups like Google and Starbucks (which were both once very, very small), Advocacy research confirms that small firms are a significant source of innova- tion. And, small firms often tend to specialize in high tech, high growth industries, such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, information technology, and semiconductors.

Why is this important for policymakers? Because the laws they write and the regulations that implement these laws can affect the extent to which a small business thrives and contributes to the economy. As House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez recently wrote, "In a scramble to meet deadlines, agencies rushing to make new regulations brush small businesses' voices aside too often. As agencies craft new rules, it is important that there be a formal step in the process that requires close consideration of how small firms will be affected. …