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Small businesses want rules tossed

JOYCE M. ROSENBERG

Small businesses are hoping to see some high-profile Obama administration regulations scrapped after Donald Trump takes office, with rules affecting overtime, sick leave and the environment among those that may be taken off the books.

Complying with federal, state and local regulations affects companies of all sizes but can be especially tough for small businesses because they have less revenue to absorb labor, paperwork and other costs related to regulations.

Businesses with fewer than 50 workers paid an average of $11,724 per employee to comply with federal regulations, compared with less than $10,000 for companies of all sizes, a 2014 report released by the National Association of Manufacturers found. Manufacturers with fewer than 50 workers paid an average of $34,671 per worker, while those of all sizes averaged $19,564.

Federal regulations were cited as the most burdensome kind by

58 percent of owners in a survey released Wednesday by the National Small Business Association advo­cacy group.

A number of small business groups anticipate fewer rules and more lenient enforcement of existing ones under Trump and the

Republican-led Congress.

Overtime: Small business groups opposed the Obama administration’s plan to make 4.2 million

salaried workers eligible for overtime, which a federal appeals court blocked implementation of just

before it was to take effect Dec. 1. The government is appealing the injunction, which came in a lawsuit brought by 21 states. The Labor Department, under Trump, could restructure the law.

Clean water: Farming groups and small business advocates hope a wetlands rule defining land that must be protected under the Clean Water Act won’t survive. Critics contend it gives the government too much leeway in restricting what private landowners can do.

It has been tied up in the federal court system in a case that may be heard this year. But even if the rule survives, there’s likely to be little support for it in the government. Trump’s nominee for head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, filed suit against it as Oklahoma attorney general.

Clean air: Small business groups expect the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules on emissions from coal-fired power plants to be eliminated. The Supreme Court stopped the rules from taking effect while they are the subject of federal lawsuits brought by states and businesses. Trump, who has vowed to bring jobs back to the coal industry, could issue an order nullifying the rules. Congress can also act.