State audit: Board that protects small businesses is “not functional”
An important board that helps protect small businesses has been neglected by state leaders and, as a result, is failing to effectively fulfill its duties.
Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway said the Small Business Regulatory Fairness Board is “not functional.” The board was established in 2004 to help ensure state rules don’t create an excessive burden on small businesses, which are especially vulnerable to regulatory changes.
In an audit released May 24, Galloway found that the board had not provided input about proposed small business regulations. The board also failed to receive any feedback about proposed regulations from small businesses during a recent two-year period. Galloway gave the board a “poor” rating — the lowest possible rating — indicating significant improvement is needed.
The inactivity on the board comes as state leaders have failed to make new appointments to fill open positions. The board has also not received appropriate funding for staffing, according to the audit.
“The findings of this audit are very concerning. Our business community relies this board to help protect small businesses from excess regulation. Given that this hasn’t been happening for a number of years, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that our Missouri 2030 Gallup survey found that only 16 percent of Missouri business leaders say they are satisfied with how the state regulates businesses,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “I’d like to thank Auditor Galloway for making this a priority and I’d call on the governor and our legislative leaders to urgently address the deficiencies on this board. We must do everything we can to make sure small businesses can thrive and create jobs in Missouri.”