Small business owners concerned about proposed federal regulations

By David Skolnick


Local small-business officials are calling on the federal government to not implement proposed regulations, including those cracking down on older coal plants and the federal health-care law.

The officials, members of the National Federation of Independent Business, said Friday at a press conference at City Machine Technologies that the possible regulations would hurt small business, hampering economic growth and creating uncertainty.

The NFIB, a small- business lobbying association, led the unsuccessful court challenge against the health-care law, referred to as Obamacare.

Toby Mirto, vice president of Rhiel Supply in Austintown, said the federal government “doesn’t consult the small-business community when they make decisions.”

Others complained about proposals to crack down on increasing regulations requiring older coal plants to produce a cleaner product, saying it’s not necessary and has forced plants to go out of business.

Andreas Foerster, owner and president of Starr Manufacturing in Vienna, said his company lost $8 million in revenue last year because of coal plants shutting down.

He blamed the federal government’s proposals to require older coal plants to make changes to clean the product for some plants’ having closed.

Starr, which employs 75, makes custom industrial equipment and machinery for various industries, including coal plants.

Though President Barack Obama’s administration has proposed regulations on traditional coal mines, during his four years as president, Ohio coal jobs have increased by 10 percent, and Ohio coal production is up 7 percent.

The small-business officials expressed concern about Obamacare, saying it was going to drive up health-care expenses significantly for employees when it’s fully implemented next year.

None could say how much the cost would increase, but Foerster estimated his business’s increase at 30 percent to 40 percent, and Mirto said it could double or triple his cost.

Friday’s event was part of NFIB’s Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations project, which seeks to “draw more attention to over-regulation” by the federal government, said Jacob Larger, its support manager in Ohio.

Larger said Friday there are 4,200 new federal regulations pending in Washington.

NFIB has used that number of pending federal regulations dating at least to January 2011.

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