BY JIM NOLAN
Over-regulation is choking the growth of the economy and small businesses, a top Virginia Republican and GOP-leaning business group charged Thursday.
Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling joined with the Virginia chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses in a teleconference to launch a campaign dubbed “Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations” — the latest effort to paint President Barack Obama’s administration as the problem, not the solution, to economic recovery.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the campaign is focused on 9 states — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia — nearly all of which are considered potential swing states in the 2012 presidential election.
The campaign focuses on what it refers to as Obama’s “Regulatory Tidal Wave” — a dramatic increase, it claims is coming in future regulations covering the energy production and the environment, as well as labor relations and health care.
Nicole Riley of Virginia NFIB cited a report from the conservative Heritage Foundation that predicts that 4,100 new regulations over the next four years will cost American businesses $515 billion. Businesses, he said, are reluctant to hire or expand because of the costs entailed in implementing the new regulations.
“The regulatory burden that’s being imposed on business in our country is out of balance, it’s out of control and it’s crushing American business,” said Bolling, a Republican candidate for governor in 2013 and the chief jobs creation officer under Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. Bolling also chairs Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign in the commonwealth.
On the call were two business owners, including Joe Wilson, owner of PermaTreat Pest Control in Fredericksburg. Wilson had a wide range of complaints against federal agencies, including the EPA and OSHA, and at one point complained about the cost of having to fuel his trucks with gas containing ethanol.
Bolling talked about restrictions on coal mining and coal-fired power plants, as well as the impact of imposing regulations governing the recently upheld healthcare overhaul.
But officials backed away from an all out assault of government regulations, saying that there is a need for some regulation protecting workers, consumers and the environment. The emphasis, Bolling said, should be on common sense and balance, not a regulatory environment that is “way out of kilter” and helping to stall the economy.
Democrats last night said Republican claims are what is out of whack.
“Yet again, Republican rhetoric doesn’t match reality,” said Obama for America Virginia spokeswoman Marianne von Nordeck.
“The truth is, President Obama has moved to cut regulations across the government, resulting in more than 800 regulatory reforms –just a fraction of which will save businesses $10 billion over the next five years. President Obama has also worked to revive the economy and put more money in the hands of middle class families. He has cut taxes for small businesses 18 times, expanded access to federal contracts for small businesses, and supported nearly $80 billion in loans to more than 150,000 small business owners.
“Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has shown that his commitments lie abroad, having been called a ‘pioneer of outsourcing’ by shipping jobs overseas while at Bain Capital and hiding his money in offshore tax-havens.”