Pennsylvania lawmakers sustain veto of small business bill

| 11/22/2006

On a virtual party-line vote of 107-83, the Pennsylvania House was unable to override Gov. Ed Rendell's veto of a bill intended to aid small businesses in the state, including trucking operations.

The House vote fell short of the 135 "yes" votes needed to have the required two-thirds majority for an override. The margin was significantly different from the vote of 193-4 when the chamber originally approved the bill in May 2005.

Rep. Tina Pickett, R-Wysox, said the Democratic governor's veto resulted in many House Democrats changing their votes.

The bill - HB236 - required that prior to the adoption of any proposed regulation that could adversely affect small businesses each state agency must notify the Independent Regulatory Review Commission of its intent to adopt the rule.

Rep. Tina Pickett, R-Wysox, said the bill allowed small businesses that have been adversely affected or aggrieved by any regulatory mandate to seek judicial review. The review period would have extended for 18 months after the implementation of the specific regulation.

The protection would have applied to businesses with up to 100 full-time employees or gross annual sales of less than $6 million.

Rendell said in his veto message that the legislation would increase the cost of operating the government unnecessarily. He said estimates from the state suggest that the cost of processing the more than 200 regulations that are proposed or revised annually could increase by as much as $1 million as a result of the bill.

"The bill purports to protect small businesses, but, in fact, it will place new burdens on our agencies and commissions and, thus, will drive up the cost of their regulatory duties as well as further drag out an already long process unnecessarily," Rendell wrote.

The governor also said there are enough protections for businesses in current laws. This latest effort would only create another layer of red tape, he said.

Rendell's explanation didn't pass muster with Pickett.

"Gov. Rendell vetoed this legislation because he said it would put a financial strain on state agencies," Pickett said in a written statement. "But what about the financial hardships our small businesses face every day as they try to survive and provide family-sustaining jobs for residents of Pennsylvania?"

Pickett said she isn't giving up. She plans to reintroduce the measure when the new legislative session begins in January.