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Tampa Tribune: Mr. President, address overregulation

Thursday, July 05, 2012

President Barack Obama was in Tampa recently to give a campaign speech at Hillsborough Community College. As a Floridian and concerned business owner, I would like for our president to include a peel-back of excessive regulation in his stump speeches.

One of the greatest challenges to my company’s well-being comes from federal agency regulation. Every time my company looks like it might be above water, we are burdened with another regulation or rule that costs us money and cuts into my and my staff’s time and the time I could be using to grow my business. In fact, we had to hire a company just to keep us advised on all the rules and regulations coming from Washington because it seemed endless.

I am a combat-wounded veteran, so, of course, I support the basic premise of the American Disabilities Act, but we have noticed overarching inspections in the Tampa area most recently. ADA inspectors dropped into local small businesses to see if a water fountain or doorway was 1 inch off. If so, the business was sued, and courts have regularly awarded judgments of $10,000. We were fortunate to avert the violation by requesting a courtesy inspection, frankly because other friendly small businesses explained what was happening.

According to one congressman, there are currently 95 different standards for bathrooms. That does not count the myriad other regulations for all types of other areas.

According to the Small Business Administration, for small companies the cost of complying with federal mandates is more than a third higher than that on large companies. This excessive regulation will continue to impede U.S. job growth. Small businesses generate about two-thirds of America’s new jobs, but unnecessary rules curtail the innovation and economic growth they promise.

Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations members have traveled to Washington and voiced our concerns about overregulation, and now that the president is on our turf and will be through November, I hope he has a real answer for this problem and takes a stance.

As a small family business, we seek a balance that protects the rights and welfare of our workers — for them to be justly compensated and work in a safe environment. For more information on how to join the coalition, visit

John Doble is part owner and operator, along with his wife and son, of Tampa Bay Brewing Company in Tampa.

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