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Federal Watchdog Office Saves Small Businesses
Editor's Note: The following guest column from is from SBA's Office of Advocacy. The Office of Advocacy, led by the Chief Counsel for Advocacy, Dr. Winslow Sargeant, is an avid regulatory watchdog committed to defending small businesses.

Federal Watchdog Office Saves Small Businesses $2.4 Billion in Regulatory Costs Report Highlights Work of the SBA Office of Advocacy

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy has saved small businesses $2.4 billion in first-year regulatory costs, according to a new report published today. The Report on the Regulatory Flexibility Act FY 2012 released by the SBA Office of Advocacy - an independent office tasked with involving small businesses in the federal regulatory process - details the office's work in minimizing the impact of federal regulations on small businesses over the past fiscal year.

"I am proud that Advocacy is living up to its reputation as the small business watchdog within the federal government," said Dr. Winslow Sargeant, Chief Counsel for Advocacy. "As a former small business owner myself, I know small businesses don't have the time or resources to keep track of all the proposed federal rules and regulations. So, our job is to monitor that process for small businesses. Advocacy's guiding purpose is to work with federal agencies to get the results they want, while easing the burden of those regulations on small businesses."

Advocacy's Report on the Regulatory Flexibility Act FY 2012, shows the office's work helping federal agencies comply with the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA). One important part of the law requires federal agencies to review proposed regulations that would have a significant impact on small entities and to consider significant alternatives that would minimize the regulatory burden on them while achieving the rules' purposes. The report also takes into account Advocacy's work helping agencies comply with Executive Order (E.O.) 13272, which requires federal agencies to create a systematic process for reviewing rules with an eye toward reducing the regulatory burden.

From holding roundtable discussions around the country, to issuing comment letters on proposed regulations, to training federal agencies on RFA compliance, the report outlines Advocacy's work voicing the concerns of small businesses throughout the federal government. The report also discusses Advocacy's work through congressional testimony, advocacy for legislative reform and vital economic research on small business issues.

"Small businesses deserve a voice in the regulatory process, especially when a proposed rule or regulation will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small businesses. And, Advocacy works hard to serve as that strong voice," said Sargeant. "We believe - and our congressional mandate reflects this belief - that regulations are more effective and long-lasting when small businesses are part of the rulemaking process."

The Office of Advocacy bases its cost savings primarily on agency estimates. These cost savings for a given rule as a result of Advocacy's intervention are captured in the fiscal year in which the agency takes final action on the rule. The full report is on the Advocacy website at On the same site, interested small business owners can also sign up for a number of web-based tools, such as e-mail alerts, regulatory alerts, Advocacy's newsletter and blog, and various social media accounts that serve to keep small business owners updated on proposed federal rules and regulations.

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