Rep. Bryon Short: Delaware remains a good state for business


This column was published in today's edition of The News Journal.

By Rep. Bryon Short


The legislative House Small Business Caucus has championed the role of small, often family-owned businesses for the past seven years. We legislators are constantly seeking opportunities to find common ground in supporting job growth throughout our state. These businesses are critical to Delaware’s quality of life and to a strong, vibrant middle class. They employ our neighbors and support our local economy while contributing to our fire hall fundraisers and our little league teams. When our small businesses are doing well, they create tens of thousands of good-paying, quality jobs that help grow our middle class. We have supported this important economic engine first through meeting with entrepreneurs up and down the state – holding public meetings in all three counties specifically to solicit input – and then taking action to improve opportunities for growth.

Contrary to what others have said, Delaware is a business-friendly state. The Small Business Caucus and Governor Markell have taken numerous steps during the past several years to improve the climate for businesses, and we have seen several examples of this working.

Although we have achieved many successes over the years, one issue we still are continuing to work on is the Regulatory Flexibility Act. This effort has been the focus of the Small Business Caucus for four years as we have pushed for the legislation in the House but have been unable to get a bill to the governor’s desk. Two years ago, Gov. Markell championed this effort through an executive order that essentially called for the state to perform the components of our regulatory flexibility bill.

The bill we will soon consider is based upon federal legislation championed by the Obama Administration that calls for governments to recognize that there can be a difference between the impact regulations can have on large corporations and small businesses. A multi-state or international corporation with a suite of lawyers to track regulatory requirements and the associated reporting is in a very different position than a mom-and-pop shop where the owners are the HR department, payroll administrator, inventory manager and often front-line worker.

The Regulatory Flexibility Act calls upon state agencies to look for opportunities to make the regulations less burdensome on small businesses while keeping the intent and protections of the regulation in place.

It’s important to not confuse the effort to reduce the burden of regulations on small businesses with placing the public at risk. Many of these regulations are administrative in nature.

This measure might sound tedious or even boring, but it is exactly the kind of effort that provides a direct benefit to small business owners. That is what a business-friendly state does to help these companies grow our middle class.

In addition, the measure calls for a review of regulations to remove redundant or outdated regulations, as well as to identify regulations that are in conflict. Governor Markell’s effort two years ago uncovered more than 120 regulations that were impacted. His administration should be complimented on their work on behalf of Delaware’s small business community. But Executive Orders are only enforced during that governor’s term, which is why this bill is necessary. Governor Markell has recognized this and called upon the General Assembly in his State of the State address to pass the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Many members of Delaware’s General Assembly stand ready to get this done this session. We have specifically called upon Delaware’s business chambers to reach out to their membership asking for their concerns regarding regulations, as well as their solutions.

I, along with my colleagues on the Small Business Caucus, are looking forward to championing the Regulatory Flexibility Act and making Delaware the First State when entrepreneurs make decisions regarding where to start their businesses. 

State Rep. Bryon H. Short represents the 7th House District (Brandywine Hundred).