Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Small Biz Regulatory Reform in 2017

Throughout the presidential campaign, many wondered how good a Donald Trump presidency would be for business. While some feared his unpredictability would send markets reeling, others, banking on his remarks and history as a business owner would mean good news for other business owners.

And just over a week into his presidency, Trump issued an executive order promising to reduce regulation and regulatory costs. Essentially, if a federal agency is going to enact any new regulation, including those placed upon small businesses, they would need to revoke two existing regulations. This could lead to an un- or at least less-fettered business environment, so what does that look like for your small biz?

New Small Biz Sheriff in Town

Thomson Reuters (parent company to this blog) recently released a Special Report on the State of Regulatory Reform in 2017. The report looks not only at the current and future regulatory environment under President Trump, but at specific world-wide markets as well. Released before Trump's executive order on regulation, it correctly predicted his "dismantling" of financial regulations on business generally and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in particular: "He has already vowed to 'dismantle' the post-crisis Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul and is stocking his Cabinet and financial posts with Wall Street veterans who have criticized or questioned Dodd-Frank's regulatory restraints as excessive."

Along with rolling back enforcement on provisions of current legislation, The Regulatory Reform Report sees new legislation in the works, like the Financial CHOICE Act, with reforms ranging from "outright repeal of the Volcker Rule against risky self-trading by banks to curbing the Federal Reserve's independence in supervision and regulation by placing the central bank and other banking agencies under the Congressional appropriations process." The report also looks at the potential for a new world perspective to affect international trade deals.

"A Big One"

"We want to make ... life easier for small businesses," Trump said while signing the executive order on regulation. In a sign of regulatory times to come, the order has three major components:

  • The White House Office of Management and Budget must give each agency a budget for how much it can increase regulatory costs or cut regulatory costs;
  • Agencies must control the costs of all new rules within their budget; and
  • Agencies may not impose any new costs in finalizing or repealing a rule for the remainder of 2017 unless that cost is offset by the repeal of two existing regulations.

It is almost certain that Trump will rollback more regulations or their enforcement. And small business owners are advised to keep abreast of the new regulatory landscape this year and adjust their compliance accordingly.

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