Obama plans to reduce regulations on businesses

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The CEOs of Charlotte's biggest companies have not been shy about it. They say strict government regulations discourage them from hiring.

Dan DiMicco, chief of Charlotte steel company Nucor, sounding off at a public forum.

"Business leaders in this country are scared to death to do things, to hire people, to invest, because they're certain the wrong things are being done," DiMicco said, "and they don't see the right things being done in Washington today."

President Obama is well aware of the criticism.

Back in January, he ordered a review of what he called dumb regulations that put a damper on businesses. Now, amid new fears that the economy is stalling, he's ready to roll out a plan that would relax many government rules.

The president's administration claims that the changes will save businesses $10 billion over five years, encouraging them to hire, and the Charlotte Chamber's Natalie English says several of the restrictions on the chopping block have a big affect on local companies.

"One of them has to do with air quality controls for utility plants that would increase the cost of electricity," English says, "and manufacturers tend to be the highest payers of electricity."

So if that air quality rule relaxes, the environment might suffer, but manufacturers will have more money to grow and to add jobs.

"You have to keep in mind how regulations might impact the cost of doing business verses the benefit that they provide," English says.

And right now Obama says jobs are his top priority.

The nation's biggest business lobby essentially said thanks for the effort, but it's too little too late. English disagrees.

"To say too little, too late means we give up, and we will never give up," she says.