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Governor Chafee seeks direct feedback from business owners

Governor Lincoln D. Chafee yesterday contacted more than 5,000 Rhode Island business owners and operators asking them to complete a thorough survey on the effects of state and federal regulations on their business.

"This survey is a natural extension of the community business forums I have held in cities and towns throughout the state over the past year," Governor Chafee said. "It is an opportunity to hear directly from business owners about the challenges they face and ways in which state government can help them succeed and grow. That is always our goal, and we will use the information we receive to continue to make Rhode Island more business-friendly."

In June of 2012, Governor Chafee signed into law a requirement for each state department and agency to review 25 percent of its regulations each year for four years until all existing regulations have been evaluated for any adverse impacts on small businesses. It also required the Office of Regulatory Reform (ORR) to provide assistance to agencies throughout the review. Unsatisfied with a four-year review period to determine the impact of regulations on Rhode Island small businesses, Governor Chafee then announced on September 12, 2012, an initiative to accelerate this regulatory review by directing regulatory entities to complete an evaluation of 25 percent of its regulations within a 120-day review period by December 31.

On December 28, 2012, the Governor instructed each agency to begin the second 120-day review of its regulations for any adverse impact on small businesses. This process will continue until all state regulations have been reviewed for any adverse impacts on small businesses. Each regulatory entity will provide ORR with recommendations to revise, repeal, or keep the regulations based on its reviews, including for regulations that are mandated by state or federal statutes. ORR will have 90 days to review those recommendations.

The business survey sent by Governor Chafee will help guide ORR's review by targeting specific regulations that small businesses consider the most burdensome.

In the survey, business owners will have the opportunity to respond to questions such as:

  • What are the most important challenges facing your business today?
  • Considering state regulations that directly affect your business, would you say there is the right amount of regulation, too little, or too much regulation?
  • How many state regulations does your company currently have to comply with?
  • Of those regulations, do you find any of them challenging or overly burdensome to comply with?
  • If yes, what specific regulation(s) do you find most challenging, or overly burdensome to comply with?
  • What is the annual estimated cost to your company to comply with state regulations?
  • Do you have any ideas and/or suggestions to bring a better balance between regulations and business growth?
  • Business owners are asked to fill out the survey online within two weeks. All responses will be reviewed by the Office of Regulatory Reform.

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