CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

by Ryan Young on January 6, 2014

in Features, Regulation

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As Wayne Crews pointed out earlier, 2013 was a busy year for regulation. And 2014 is off to a rollicking start, with more than 500 Federal Register pages in just two working days.

On to the data:

  • Last week, 66 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register. There were 74 new final rules the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 32 minutes.
  • In 2013, a total of 3,619 final rules were published in the Federal Register.
  • So far in 2014, 26 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,250 new regulations this year.
  • Last week, 1,706 new pages were added to the 2013 Federal Register. The 2013 edition topped out at 80,330 pages, the third-largest in the Register’s 78-year history.
  • The 2014 edition of the Federal Register is sitting at 527 pages after two days. It is on pace for 65,875 pages.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. There were 40 such rules in 2013. Two such rules have been published so far in 2014.
  • The total estimated compliance costs of 2013’s economically significant regulations ranges from $6.42 billion to $11.83 billion.
  • 331 final rules that meet the broader definition of “significant” were published in 2013. The tally for 2014 is eight.
  • In 2013, 718 new final rules affect small businesses; 107 of them are significant rules. So far in 2014, one new rule affects small businesses. It is not classified as significant.

Highlights from selected final rules published last week:

  • One of last week’s economically significant rules involves premium payments from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. The rule involves some accounting arcana. As the rule states, “large-plan flat-rate premium deferral will cause a one-time shift of about $1.5 billion (attributable primarily to calendar year plans) from one fiscal year to the next.” I am scoring it as zero-cost in the running compliance cost tally.
  • The other economically significant rule involves school lunches, on which the federal government will spend more than $16 billion in 2014. This rule continues the phase-in of new standards. To incentivize states to play along, the “estimated cost of Federal performance-based reimbursements (and the value of additional SFA revenue) is $1.54 billion through FY 2017.” Since this involves government spending and not compliance costs, I am scoring this rule as zero-cost.
  • New regulations for importing avocados and apricots from continental Spain.
  • The Federal Reserve issued a prohibition against federal assistance to swaps entities.
  • New testing procedures to furnace fan energy efficiency.

For more data, see Ten Thousand Commandments and follow @10KC and @RegoftheDay on Twitter.

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