Study: $15.8 billion in possible new regulations for February

A flood of rules scheduled for publication in February could add $15.8 billion in regulatory costs, according to a study by the American Action Forum.

The number comes after a January that added $12 billion in regulations. At this rate, the government will add $138 billion in new regulations in 2013, larger than the previously calculated $123 billion.

The same group estimated that 2012 was an onslaught of new rules. “According to their calculations, the cost of rules finalized in 2012 far exceeded the regulatory cost of any of the previous 12 years,” The Daily Caller News Foundation reported.

The new rules scheduled for publication in February include revised school lunch standards, new mortgage servicing rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) created under Dodd-Frank, and a new EPA regional haze requirement that could cost a single power plant $648 million.

“After $12 billion in costs last month, there appears to be no slow down in the pace of expensive rulemakings. … It is no surprise then, that businesses view new rules as a major obstacle to economic growth and job creation,” the AAF reports.

The mounting regulatory burden has small businesses worried. A poll by Gallup finds that 55 percent of small business owners are concerned about new government regulations, and an earlier poll found that 47 percent of Americans believed there is too much government regulation.

“With $123 billion in regulations scheduled for 2013, and a significant new regulation published every three days in 2012, small businesses are right to be concerned with the nation’s mounting red tape burden,” the AAF writes.

The White House delayed the release of many rules in 2012, drawing concern from lawmakers that the administration was hiding the future regulatory regime from the public.

“Due to the impending election, it does raise concerns that the administration is holding back this information for fear it will be met with dissatisfaction by the public, or even worse, perceived as breaking the administration’s promise of regulatory reform,” members of Congress wrote in a letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget back in October.

The White House missed the 90-day deadline to sign off on rules for 84 percent of new rules in 2012, a rate 50 percent higher than in 2011.

“Federal regulators are churning out about 4,000 regulations a year — including a rising number of massive, costly rules,” Tom Donohue, president of the United States Chamber of Commerce, recently warned. “Systemic overregulation breeds uncertainty, drives up costs, stifles hiring and investment, and threatens our competitive edge in a global economy.”

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