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Get Involved: Help SBA Reform Federal Regulations

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OK, so the nearly $1 trillion Wall Street rescue is all but assured, butthe benefits to small business remain to be seen. In the long run, morecredit should become available for entrepreneurs who need funding tostart a business or expand an existing one, but for now it's the bigplayers who will lap up the taxpayer-sponsored river of capital.

Even if the plan works perfectly and the federal coffers becomeflush with cash over the next several years--decades?--how can this beseen as anything other than a catastrophic failure of a system that issupposed to self-regulate as a way to avoid such collapses? OK,so the nearly $1 trillion Wall Street rescue is all but assured, butthe benefits to small business remain to be seen. In the long run, morecredit should become available for entrepreneurs who need funding tostart a business or expand an existing one, but for now it's the bigplayers who will lap up the taxpayer-sponsored river of capital.

Even if the plan works perfectly and the federal coffers becomeflush with cash over the next several years--decades?--how can this beseen as anything other than a catastrophic failure of a system that issupposed to self-regulate as a way to avoid such collapses?

While the feds and the fallen financial gurus on Wall Street sortout this 13-figure debacle--even sports agents have to cringe atnumbers that big--there is another $1 trillion small-business ownerscan do something about. The Small Business Administration estimatesthat business owners in the U.S. spend $1.1 trillion annually to complywith federal regulations. Now may not seem like the time to get into aderegulatory fervor--since deregulation is largely responsible for thecredit and mortgage mess we are in--but too many rules for businessesare outdated, shortsighted or just plain silly. And they need to beremoved or updated.

To that end, the SBA's Office of Advocacy, through its RegulatoryReview and Reform (r3) initiative, is asking business owners tonominate federal rules that are in need of review and reform. Oncecompiled, the list will be whittled down to a Top 10 list and r3 willsubmit the suggestions to the appropriate federal agencies. Click hereto learn more and nominate a rule.

"Changing markets, technology and competition make it imperativethat federal agencies periodically review how their current regulationsaffect small business," says Thomas M. Sullivan, chief counsel forAdvocacy.

Among the mandates on the 2008 Top 10 list, one in particular couldhelp the widest range of entrepreneurs: Simplify the home officebusiness deduction. SBA is calling for a rule to permit a standarddeduction for home-based businesses. With 53 percent of all smallbusinesses run from the home, kinda makes sense.

The rules that make the 2009 list are up to you.

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