Federal regulators worked hard to create more busywork for Americans this past year.
In 2013, regulators added an estimated 157.9 million hours of paperwork to comply with the 80,224 new pages of regulations in the Federal Register, according to a report released by the American Action Forum.
The total number of final regulations added to the books in 2013 was less than in 2012, but these rules will require more paperwork-ridden hours than in 2012.
AAF found that the cumulative number of hours spent on regulatory-related paperwork in 2013 was 10.38 billion hours, an increase of nearly 158 million hours from 2012. The report’s author believes it would take more than 78,000 employees working full-time to complete the additional paperwork.
This past year’s regulations were also significantly more costly than those adopted in 2012. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) concluded that 104 of 2013’s regulations were “economically significant,” a 25 percent increase from 2012.
Upon review, OIRA also found 11 final regulations that imposed unfunded mandates on states or private entities, which is 38 percent more than last year.
In total, regulators published $112 billion in net regulatory costs during the 2013 fiscal year.
Much of these expenses stem from Obamacare rulemakings and tough new regulations created by the EPA and the Department of Energy (DOE).
Although the rule has not been finalized yet, the EPA’s Tier 3 emissions standard would add $3.4 billion in annual costs and more than 160,000 annual paperwork burden hours. This sulfur-reducing initiative, which is expected to be finalized in February, will have a total estimated cost of $35 billion.
Not to be overlooked, the DOE also racked up a high price tag of new regulatory costs, amounting to around $34.5 billion in monetary burdens. One of the federal agency’s more expensive measures mandated stricter standards for commercial and industrial electric motors. The proposed rule would impose $462 million in annualized costs ($11.7 billion in long-term costs) and would compel some small businesses to allocate 188 percent of their yearly fiscal expenditures on compliance.
The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, also added some not-so-affordable monetary burdens to the books this year. In 2013, Health and Human Services (HHS) regulators published $2 billion in Obamacare-related costs and added more than 16.7 million hours of paperwork.
Implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act continued to have a large monetary impact in 2013. Federal regulators published $1.1 billion in new costs and added 3.9 million hours in paperwork. However, these time and monetary costs do not include the additional burdens of a provision of the Dodd-Frank Act, the 900-plus page Volcker Rule, which regulators just approved at the end of the 2013 fiscal year.
In regards to paperwork burden hours, a new rule imposing affirmative action and nondiscrimination obligations on contractors took home the cake. AAF researchers found that this particular regulation would add 9.9 million hours of paperwork and more than $800 million in total costs.
During President Obama’s time in office federal regulators have published $494 billion in final rules, the report says.
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