Rick Baumann, founder of Murrells Inlet Seafood, recently testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship on behalf of the American Sustainable Business Council.
On May 22, The committee heard testimony on the re-authorization of the government's Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy, whose mission is to represent small businesses in the development of federal regulations.
“The Office of Advocacy at the SBA has been woefully inadequate in representing small business,” Baumann told South Strand News. “In recent years, records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act indicated that they were coddling up to big business rather than looking after the interests of small business, which is their mission.”
During his testimony, Baumann gave examples of how the Office of Advocacy has harmed small businesses by not supporting sustainable business regulations.
“Too often, needed regulations like these are slowed, watered down, terminated or not even considered by Advocacy due to the lobbying of big business interests who seek to maximize their profits with no regard to sustainability or the resource,” Baumann told senators.
Baumann felt that the senators were very receptive to his remarks.
“Sen. Ben Cardin from Maryland had wonderful questions for me when I testified. Sen. Marco Rubio from Florida had wonderful questions also. It went very well. I just hope it did some good. I was told I hit a home run. I hope I did.”
Without proper government oversight, Baumann said, it is hard for small businesses like his own to compete with big business. He said businesses like his need the Office of Advocacy to represent for them.
“The major dilemma in today’s world in all issues is the fact that big business has marketing departments and big budgets. They have lobbying entities and trade organizations. Small business is the great majority of our economic base here in tourism and fishing, and we don’t have adverting departments or lobbying organizations to represent us other than the Office of Advocacy, and they have let us down profoundly."
Baumann also serves on the Board of Directors of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce.