ORLANDO – One way the federal government can help create jobs and spur more business growth would be to eliminate onerous federal regulations that impose heavy costs and burdens on small businesses, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said today.
“The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has now said there’s oil in milk, so they’re giving themselves the ability to regulate milk because there’s oil in it and there might be a situation where the milk spills,” said Rubio, who was elected Florida’s junior senator last fall. “You think this is a Monty Python skit, but it isn’t.”
On Thursday, Rubio met with small business owners at the office of the Orlando Chamber of Commerce. During this Small Business Forum, Rubio urged businesses to let his office know whenever they’re struggling with a bizarre federal law that makes it difficult for them to operate their company.
“I am always looking for crazy regulations that we can call people on and say ‘This is crazy,’ “ Rubio said. “We are constantly on the lookout for these kinds of things.”
Rubio was recently named to the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and held the forum in downtown Orlando to seek ideas on how Washington could take a more pro-growth approach, one that creates an environment conducive to job creation. As Rubio noted, small businesses are the engine of this nation’s economic success and shouldn’t be weighted down by burdensome federal regulations.
“I want to continue this dialogue on an individual basis, and a collective basis as well,” he said.
Rubio said he’s already aware of some instances where federal rules hurt small companies, including the uncertainty of where the tax rates will be from one year to the next.
“It’s all a revenue-driven process,” he said. “In an ideal world, your tax rate would be low, stable and easy to deal with.”
But the rules change constantly, along with the seemingly endless number of tax exemptions, which helps create anxieties for businesses wondering what they still qualify for, he said.
“There are entire businesses that are built around certain tax exemptions,” Rubio said. “You just don’t know what it’s going to be next year.”
Rubio said he’s fed up with the ability of so many federal agencies to issue sweeping new regulations without first getting approval from the White House or Congress. He’s filed a bill to change that.
“The rule-making power of the agencies is too expansive,” he said, adding that under his proposed legislation, “Any rule that they promulgate that has an impact of $100 million or more a year, it has to get congressional approval first. Every day you read about something that makes no sense. It would be funny if it wasn’t really happening.”
Many of these rules raise the cost of production – costs that hurt businesses, eliminate jobs and pass on inflationary prices to consumers, he said.
“Our ability to grow and produce is getting more and more expensive every day in this country,” Rubio said. “That, as much as anything else, is weighing down on our country.”
Another huge problem, Rubio said, has been Washington’s lackadaisical attitude toward the nation’s soaring budget deficit, now at $14 trillion. He noted that Congress often turns to a “continuing resolution” when a budget hasn’t been passed. A continuing resolution is a spending bill that funds government agencies and existing federal programs if a formal appropriations bill hasn’t been signed into law yet.
Families struggling to pay their own bills and having to make tough choices on what to cut from their own household budget can’t grasp this concept, he said.
“I have a problem telling people what a continuing resolution is because there’s no real world equivalent,” he said. “We will hit the statutory debt limit sometime this year, which means the federal government will have to raise the debt limit again.”
When members of Congress talk about cutting spending, they often evade mentioning the toughest decisions they’re facing: how to contain the skyrocketing costs of entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.
“We can cut our discretionary spending by 10 to 15 percent,” Rubio said. “It doesn’t get you anywhere. The bulk of our debt is in the entitlement programs. The problem is Social Security is now running a deficit. There isn’t going to be a Social Security for us when we retire.”
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In December, my husband’s employer sent a notice to everyone explaining the changes to their insurance coverage. He told me that people were thrilled at the changes and he reminded them that it was due to HCR.