FEBRUARY 12, 2014

Arizona small-business group lauds House Bill 2260: Small Business Bill of Rights

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PHOENIX – Arizona small-business owners have had it with overzealous auditors and intimidating inspectors and demand greater due process protections during state regulatory enforcement actions, according to a poll released today by the National Federation of Independent Business.

“Too many small-business owners experience regulatory bullying because too many in the state bureaucracy act as if small-business owners are guilty until proven innocent,” said Farrell Quinlan, state director for NFIB in Arizona. “The smaller the enterprise the greater the chance it gets aggressive and rough treatment from those legally required to honor their due process rights.”

The NFIB poll found 94 percent in favor of greater disclosure of a small-business owner’s due process rights during an audit, inspection or other state regulatory enforcement action. Only 2 percent opposed more disclosure and 4 percent were unsure. The survey of 413 Arizona small-business owners was conducted November 5, 2013 through January 6, 2014. NFIB frequently polls its members on state and national issues vital to their ability to own, operate and grow their enterprises.

On Wednesday, state lawmakers serving on the House Commerce Committee have an immediate opportunity to combat regulatory bullying by passing a renewed Small Business Bill of Rights in the form of House Bill 2260. The bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Tom Forese is scheduled to be considered by the House Commerce Committee, February 5, at 10 a.m. in House Hearing Room 5 in the Arizona Capitol.

“Beyond individual cases of boorish behavior and unfair treatment by regulators, the existence of a bullying “corporate culture” infecting some state agencies undoubtedly is detrimental to the state’s economy and undermines the tax base,” Quinlan said. “Regulatory bullying of small businesses imposes unnecessary and costly burdens on the vast majority of Arizona’s job creators who strive to accurately and diligently comply with the law and applicable regulations.”

Under HB 2260, state agencies must conspicuously post on the agency's website a Small Business Bill of Rights crafted in plain English containing the applicable due process rights found in state law. Agency personnel must also provide a written copy of the Small Business Bill of Rights and obtain the signature from the small-business owner proving receipt before initiation of an inspection, audit or other regulatory enforcement action. Moreover, the bill enhances executive accountability and legislative oversight by requiring state agencies to report annually on the scope and severity of their reported violations of the Small Business Bill of Rights.