Sept. 29, 2004 -- Small business has always found it difficult to work with big government. But a new piece of legislation now under review in Congress seeks to make life easier for companies traditionally tripped up by red tape in Washington.

The Small Business Compliance Assistance Enhancement Act, introduced by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), moved to committee on Thursday. Supporters say the bill, S. 2834, would place new emphasis on compliance guides that federal agencies are required to write, ultimately making rules and regulations more user-friendly.

According to the Small Business Administration, the smallest businesses spend almost $7,000 per employee each year to comply with OSHA, EPA, and other federal regulations -- a cost burden estimated to be 60% greater than that of large corporations.

"Senator Snowe's bill goes a long way to ensure that federal agencies issue compliance guides that are helpful for the small business community," Thomas M. Sullivan, chief counsel for the SBA's Office of Advocacy, said in a statement. "The bill also recognizes that small businesses often need compliance help before the new rules go into effect."