A First Look at FY 2018 Regulatory Budgets

The Trump Administration unveiled its Fall 2017 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. The agenda revealed more information about how the Administration aims to achieve its goal of cutting regulatory costs under the president’s executive order signed in January. The order instituted regulatory budgets that would cap the amount of annualized regulatory costs agencies could impose.

A noteworthy addition to this agenda is the publication of the regulatory cost caps the Administration set for each agency. While it was expected that these agencies would have to hit targets resulting in net savings, we now know what those goals are.

The Administration aims to reduce annualized regulatory costs by $686.6 million in fiscal year 2018. The largest share of these savings is expected to come from the Department of the Interior (DOI). Its cap is set at an annualized savings of $196 million from 43 deregulatory actions listed in the agenda. DOI has no significant regulatory actions planned for FY 2018.

Another large share of savings is expected to come from the Department of Labor. It expects net annualized savings of $137 million on 22 deregulatory actions. Ten significant regulatory actions are planned for FY 2018.

Other notable departments and agencies with savings for FY 2018 include the Department of Energy ($80 million), the Department of Defense ($70.9 million), the Department of Agriculture ($56 million), and the Environmental Protection Agency ($40 million).

On the opposite end of the spectrum, eight Departments or agencies – including the Internal Revenue Service – have caps at net zero dollars.

While the timeframes for rules listed in the agenda are historically overoptimistic, it is worth watching how closely the Trump Administration sticks to its rulemaking schedule and how the final cost savings compare to the regulatory budget caps. If those are realistic, then the inclusion of regulatory budget figures in the new agenda is a notable improvement to increase transparency in the regulatory goals of agencies.