The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy is offering a training program on the Regulatory Flexibility Act, or RFA, to rulemaking agencies to ensure that they are properly equipped to implement this legislation. Basically, the Regulatory Flexibility Act requires federal rulemaking agencies to consider small business impacts in the development of new rules and structures. However, this is a complex process that requires a certain level of legal and economic expertise, which is why the Office of Advocacy is now offering this training opportunity
Assistant Chief Counsel Bruce Lundegren explains that the goal of the training is to help to ensure that those in the federal government who are writing small business rules and regulations are in compliance with the RFA and do not unnecessarily overburden small entities. The key concept that the training is meant to convey is that if the rule in question is expected to impose a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small businesses, then an alternative must be considered by the agency or they must write in a certain degree of flexibility to ease requirements on small entities.
One example of how effective this type of intervention can be comes from 2011, when the Department of Education made critical changes to its gainful employment regulations. The changes established a degree of flexibility for educational programs with under $7 million in revenue, which in turn saved these small programs around $218 million.
Each year, the SBA Office of Advocacy actively trains around 400 federal agency personnel to better understand the impact of regulations on small entities in order to bridge the gap between federal legislation and the daily realities faced by small businesses and enterprises across the country. The Office of Advocacy is currently offering RFA training to federal agencies and interested stakeholders. Recently, RFA training was presented to Congressional staff and federal agency personnel as part of a program called Regulation University hosted by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center.
The RFA legislation was enacted in 1980 to help level the playing field for small businesses and eliminate the enactment of “one size fits all” regulations, which end up costing small entities in the long run.
Small Business Administration. “Advocacy’s RFA Training Program Teaches Federal Agencies How to Consider Small Business Impact.” The Small Business Watchdog. 7/18/13.