Gottheimer, business leaders talk about how to cut red tape

U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer met with representatives of small businesses and industry leaders last week to understand the biggest red tape issues that medical device and life sciences businesses in his district face.

The group, including representatives of the U.S. Small Business Administration, discussed how layers of regulations at the state and federal level have been excessively burdensome on administration, the possibility of lowering taxes and easing access to capital, according to those who attended the forum.

“It’s out of control. The layers of these agencies that keep visiting them, and asking different questions and not understanding what they’re asking for, and how we should cut back some of the bureaucratic red tape,” Gottheimer (D-N.J.) told ROI-NJ after the event. “I’ve said federally that we should look at these regulations. Every seven years, we should be going back and looking at these regs and seeing which ones are necessary and which ones are having unnecessary consequences.”

The event at Glenmark Pharmaceuticals was closed to media, but attendees spoke to reporters after the forum ended.

“The problem Josh and I talk a lot about is, for small businesses, there is no support,” said John Kennedy, CEO of the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program.

“Because a lot of the government, whether state or federal, can blow off small businesses and make them do what ever they have to do. There used to be a Red Tape Commission. I don’t think it’s really active right now. Boy, it would be nice to have that back.”

The Red Tape Review Commission was a panel led by former Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.

Christine Myers, the Small Business Association advocate for the region that includes New Jersey, said the forum was eye-opening.

One thing that struck her was the third-party credentialing for medical device salespeople, as well as the fee associated with medical device sales.

“They have to pay $100 per person per facility, up to $400. Which, for a small business, is a lot,” Myers said.

Another surprising concern from the group was that cybersecurity was the top issue in health care, she said.

“It’s a pervasive issue, and, in this case, the lack of regulatory architecture — or the misunderstanding of who needs to do what to whom — and the insurance companies that are trying to get small businesses to understand their obligation … it’s very complicated,” she said.

Gottheimer released a statement following the event.

“New Jersey’s hospitals, biopharmaceuticals and medical device companies are a cornerstone of our community and our state. Roughly 900,000 New Jerseyans play a role in our life sciences and health care sector. And, in 2015, more than half of the new FDA drug approvals came from firms with a New Jersey footprint. The heart of medical innovation runs through New Jersey,” he said. “Yet, in many cases, New Jersey’s high taxes and overly complex, burdensome regulatory policies hold back our businesses, workers and innovation. That’s why, in Congress, I’m dedicated to working across the aisle to lower taxes, cut red tape and improve access to capital, including by voting to fully repeal the devastating Medical Device Tax and halt the Health Insurance Tax from taking effect. And that’s why I’m so grateful to the SBA, NJMEP and our small businesses for joining me today. I encourage any New Jersey business facing red tape to contact me.”

Participants at the event included representatives from NJMEP, SBA, Glenmark, Case Medical Inc., CP Life Sciences, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ikegami and 4th R Foundation.