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Alabama Businesses are Hit Hard By Federal Regulations

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has released a major study that shows the tremendous costs of ever-increasing regulations by the Obama Administration on not only Alabama business but also nationwide. In the study, Alabama was ranked 13th most affected by the impact of regulations on business, primarily environmental regulations and regulations on the automotive and its supplier industries.

“For the years in which data are available, two factors have significantly driven the increase in overall regulation,” the study said. “The first has been the ongoing growth in environmental regulation, which represents the most significant contributor to the increase in regulation overall since 1997. Using the BEA industry classification system, 5 of the 10 industries that experienced the largest increase in regulation since 1997 are particularly targeted by environmental regulation: utilities; chemical products manufacturing; motor vehicles, bodies and trailers, and parts manufacturing; forestry, fishing, and related activities; and petroleum and coal products manufacturing.

The top three regulated industries in 2014 are mainstays of the Alabama economy: Petroleum and coal products manufacturing, electric power generation, transmission, and distribution (which relies significantly on affordable coal), and motor vehicle manufacturing.

The study’s national index puts the regulatory burden on Alabama in 2013 as 1.15. Since the national average is 1, the burden of regulations on Alabama is 15 percent higher than the national average.

The study backs the Chamber’s call for congressional reform of the regulatory process.

“Without systemic reform, we will continue to see agencies like EPA roll out massive new regulations with little concern for costs, practicality, or even legality, and with real consequences for U.S. jobs, economic growth, and personal and economic freedoms,” Tom Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, wrote recently. He noted that the U.S. Chamber is working to “to attack the root of the problem by advocating a reform package to restore accountability, transparency, and common sense to the rulemaking process.”

Without such a reform package, businesses across the U.S. will continue to get knocked down by regulations. It’s just a matter of how hard, the Chamber said.

The National Association of Manufacturers addresses the True Cost of Regulations in a NAM-produced video featuring NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, Aric Newhouse, NAM’s Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Relations, and NAM Senior Vice president of Communications Erin Streeter.

The BCA is the exclusive representative in Alabama of the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.


 

HOUSE CONDUCTS HEARING ON OZONE RELIEF BILL

The National Association of Manufacturers is urging support for H.R. 4775 that would give counties seven more years to meet mandated ozone standards while ensuring continued air quality improvements across the country and better align the requirements with the realities of the economy, technology, and existing policies.

“Manufacturers are encouraged to see House leaders pursue much-needed legislation to reduce the burdens and inflexibilities associated with the 2015 ozone standards,” said Ross Eisenberg, NAM’s Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy. “H.R. 4775 would ensure continued air quality improvements across the country, while better aligning the rule’s requirements with the realities of the economy, technology and existing policies.”

On Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power analyzed H.R. 4775, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act. The bill was introduced by Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, and cosponsored by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and Reps. Bill Flores, R-Texas, Bob Latta, R-Ohio, and Henry Cuellar, D-Texas.

The NAM supports H.R. 4775 and is working to advance this legislation through the extra years before they become nonattainment “no-grow zones,” moving implementation from 2018 to 2025. Based on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air modeling, this would allow all but nine areas to meet the new ozone standard by 2025 by implementing the laws and regulations already on the books, the NAM said. H.R. 4775 would also change the EPA’s ozone review cycle from five to 10 years, matching what has become common practice by the EPA, the NAM said.


 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Retailers Seek to Block Administration’s Regulatory Overstep
The Hill (Wheeler 4/13) “The retail industry is calling on the Obama administration to rethink its plan to make salaried workers who earn up to $50,000 annually eligible for overtime pay. In meetings with administration officials and in a letter to Congress on Wednesday, the National Retail Federation called the Department of Labor’s proposed overtime rule ‘misguided and extreme’.

“NRF claims the rule, which stemmed from an executive order President Obama issued in March 2014, fails to account for regional differences in the nation’s economy and will disproportionately impact employees and employers in areas like the South and Midwest. ‘The Department’s one-size-fits-all rule will curtail career advancement opportunities, diminish workplace flexibility, damage employee morale, and lead to a more hierarchical workplace’, the group said in its letter.

“The federation urged Congress to block the administration from moving forward with the rule by passing the Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act. The bill, introduced by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), would require the Labor Department to thoroughly analyze the impacts of expanding overtime pay before issuing a final rule.”

 

Chairman Shelby Defies Senate Leadership on Ex-Im Nominee
Bloomberg (Dennis 4/14) “‘Conservatives’ efforts to cripple the U.S. Export-Import Bank are now pitting two powerful Republicans against each other: Senate Banking Chairman Richard Shelby and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Shelby on Thursday defied McConnell’s call to advance a nominee to the board of the Ex-Im Bank, a key financing tool for Boeing Co. and other major exporters.

“‘It’s corporate welfare’, said Shelby, an Alabama Republican, who said he would tell McConnell the same thing. Although McConnell is also an opponent of the bank, on Tuesday he called on Shelby to allow the nominee to get a vote on the Senate floor.

“‘Well, he says he’s against it, but I don’t know. I’m against it. You know, we’re not going to be moving it out of committee, OK?’ Shelby told reporters in the Capitol. McConnell of Kentucky voted against reviving the bank last year during a fight that left the Ex-Im Bank without authorization for the first time in its 81-year history.

“Even though the bank was reauthorized last October, only two of the five positions on the board of directors are currently filled, and three are needed for a quorum. That means that until new a board member is confirmed, the bank is limited to financing deals of less than $10 million — effectively blocking Boeing, Caterpillar Inc. and other large exporters from using it to finance major export deals.

“Shelby also reaffirmed his blockade on Federal Reserve nominees until President Barack Obama appoints a vice chairman for supervision — a position mandated by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law, but not yet filled by the president.”

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Dana Beyerle
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