- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Small businesses pay an average of $7,000 per employee to comply with federal regulations, according to a House report released yesterday.

Smaller companies face those costs as well as rising health care premiums while growing at a 1.5 percent rate, said Nydia M. Velazquez, New York Democrat and ranking member of the House Small Business Committee.

“There is a credibility gap in which President Bush promised to make small businesses his main priority and instead chose corporate America,” Mrs. Velazquez said.

Rep. Donald Manzullo, Illinois Republican and chairman of the committee, said Democrats in the Senate are holding up a bill that would lower health care costs by pooling small businesses with similar risk types under an organization.

Mr. Bush outlined a small-business agenda in March last year to ease regulatory burdens, and to lower health care costs, offer tax incentives and open federal contracts to a greater number of small companies.

Small businesses lost $13.8 billion in missed opportunities to work with the federal government last year, said Rep. Danny K. Davis, Illinois Democrat.

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