Several years ago I joined the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) after having gone through two predatory ADA law suits. The NFIB offered me a chance to speak and be heard both in Sacramento and in the local media about the travails of running a small maritime business in the so-called golden state. And because I was able, willing, in fact eager to make some noise, I was appointed Vice Chair of Leadership Council of the NFIB/California.
I hear daily what those folks in Sacrademento are proposing: new taxes disguised as fees, new regulations and new regulatory agencies. I’d be depressed at all the bad news, except that I’ve seen first hand how we really can make an impact, particularly when we’re willing to speak out. Last year I was able to get a small bill passed, AB 2005, that actually helped to fix a problem that had a major impact on a segment of the large-yacht fleet, and on those of us who work with that fleet.
California is notorious in the maritime world for coming up with tweaks to Federal regulations. Things like the 200-mile low-sulphur-fuel boundary apply everywhere, but in California waters ships have to fill out completely different paperwork! No impact on the environment, but a huge burden for the affected vessels.
Tomorrow at zero-dark-minus I’ll be heading to the airport to spend two days meeting with legislators and other small-business leaders. We’ll be sharing our experiences and concerns about the difficulties of doing business in California. I know we can make a difference — I’ve done it! But we all need to pay attention to our back yard, as well as the East Coast. If you have stories about regulatory black holes, send them to me. I’ve got the keys to lots of legislators’ doors, and the NFIB/California is 22,000 strong and being heard!