U.S. businesses, particularly small businesses, must comply with numerous federal, state, and local laws and regulations. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), the average “highly regulated” business (e.g., restaurants, gas stations, dry cleaners) needs to apply for, and receive, an average of 10 to 15 licenses and permits. It can be difficult, time-consuming, and ultimately very costly for businesses to determine which laws and regulations apply and learn how to comply.
Each year, complying with laws and regulations cost American businesses nearly $500 billion and consumes over eight billion hours annually of otherwise productive time. The volume of existing laws (i.e., over 140,000 pages in the Code of Federal Regulations alone), the expense of finding nearly inaccessible information, multi-jurisdictional systems, and the lack of smart on-line tools contribute to this overwhelming cost.
The Business Gateway will save American businesses time and money by making it easier to find, understand and comply with applicable laws and regulations. It will also enable Federal regulatory agencies to comply with the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) and improve their administrative efficiencies. The Business Gateway will be the cross agency portal for businesses that integrates the content and functionality of number of federal business web sites (e.g., business.gov, businesslaw.gov, sba.gov). Working with businesses, the initiative will design an “XML solution” that significantly reduces the regulatory paperwork burden and changes the way businesses interact with government. The Gateway will offer:
- Multi-jurisdictional Business Legal and Regulatory Information: Businesses will be able to access easy-to-find-and-read information about the federal, state, and local laws and regulations that apply to them.
- Compliance Assistance Tools: Businesses will have access to on-line tools, or wizards, designed to help them determine which laws and regulations apply, whether they are in compliance, and if they aren’t, how to achieve compliance.
- Accessible, easy to use (Forms) & Transactions: The Business Gateway will initially focus on creating a government-wide forms portal and reducing the paperwork burden for five industry sectors: trucking, mining, food, healthcare, and chemicals. The Gateway will provide easy access to applicable forms as well as the ability to complete, submit and transmit the completed information to the applicable Federal regulatory agencies.
By providing quick access to forms, legal information, regulatory compliance assistance tools, and on-line transactions in one well-organized, user-friendly portal, the Business Gateway can reduce the burden hours by 10 percent saving American businesses an estimated $2.4 billion annually and help federal agencies achieve a 75 percent GPEA compliance rate.