Bureaucrats Flunk Paperwork Test
March 17, 1999
In 1995, Congress passed the Paperwork Reduction Act, which called for a 20 percent reduction in federal paperwork burdens over four years.
What have been the results?
- Paperwork actually increased by 2.3 percent in 1997 and 1 percent in 1998, according to the Office of Management and Budget.
- Americans spent 7 billion hours filling out government forms last year -- at a cost of $229 billion.
- Unlike large corporations, America's 22 million small businesses lack the legal expertise that can keep them from making mistakes and bringing down the wrath of the federal government on them.
- Fines for errors can be stiff, observers report, forcing many small business into bankruptcy.
Rep. David McIntosh (R-Ind.) is sponsoring amendments to the act which would waive fines for minor, first-time paperwork violations if small businesses make corrections within six months. They would also create a hotline for small businesses that need assistance in filling out forms, and establish a task force to study the feasibility of streamlining reporting requirements.
Source: Bonner R. Cohen (Lexington Institute), "Congress Reins in Regulatory Beast," Investor's Business Daily, March 17, 1999.
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