December 13, 2019
Revisiting the Idea of a Paperwork Budget
The federal government has imposed more than one billion hours in additional paperwork requirements over the last four years. One way to address this increase is a “paperwork budget,” argues AAF’s Senior Regulatory Policy Analyst Dan Goldbeck. Since the Trump Administration has already implemented a regulatory budget, a budget for paperwork is a logical extension and could be a reform that endures through administrations with different priorities, he notes.
Beyond such mechanical issues, another key advantage of a paperwork budget is its relative political neutrality. The policy goal of a paperwork budget is to constrain the time and cost burdens imposed by federal paperwork requirements. Barring overly dramatic cuts to ICRs that somehow adversely affect federal agencies’ effectiveness in a material way, there is no real curb on their regulatory mandates or powers. As such, changes to burden levels avoid the political tensions involved in substantive changes to actual health and safety regulations. A responsibly managed paperwork budget presents negligible downside with the generally uncontroversial economic good of alleviating unnecessary paperwork.