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Tallahassee Democrat: Bill Herrle- We need more jobs, not more red tape

Monday, February 11, 2013

When the president goes before Congress on Tuesday to give his State of the Union address, I hope he will lay out a real plan to modernize our regulatory system and rein in the red tape holding back America’s small businesses.

According to a 2012 survey from Gallup, half of small businesses cite government regulations as the reason they are not hiring. Each day, businesses large and small are constrained by excessive rules and endless paperwork. Burdensome regulations and an unfriendly business environment are stifling job creation and economic growth.

In order to move forward and help foster business hiring — particularly for small businesses — our elected officials must acknowledge that today’s regulatory system is inefficient and outdated. Any new or sweeping regulations need greater transparency, accountability and a thorough cost-benefit analysis.

One of the simplest and most economical ways to create jobs is through common-sense regulatory reform that maintains health and environmental protections while removing barriers to business development, entrepreneurship and investment. This will allow the private sector to invest in new facilities, technologies, services and new employees.

Here in Florida, workers and employers worry about the burdensome regulations in place today and those still coming down the pipeline. More than 950,000 people in Florida and $90 billion of Florida’s gross state product could be adversely affected by these new regulations. This is troubling for a state with an unemployment rate at 8 percent. People in Florida and across the country are ready for change. They know we need more jobs, not more red tape.

In addition to our regulatory policies, Washington also needs to have a serious discussion about our $16.4 trillion national debt. Our economy, once the envy of the world, can no longer be held together with promissory notes and sluggish growth rates. Our debt now exceeds 100 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) without even accounting for future unfunded liabilities such as Social Security that many Americans will need. The debt and out-of-control government spending must be part of the larger discussion about sustainable economic growth.

These days, America’s soup kitchens are too full, our unemployment lines are too long and layoffs are too common. Threatening businesses with additional regulations and government-mandated compliance costs will invariably exacerbate job losses.

With more than 12 million Americans unemployed, I think we can all acknowledge that the status quo is simply unacceptable. It’s time for President Obama to truly take action.

Bill Herrle is the Florida executive director for the National Federation of Independent Business ( Contact him at

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