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Growth in Regulators’ Budget Slowed by Fiscal Stalemate Open Access

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Each year we examine the Budget of the United States Government to identify the resources and personnel devoted to developing and enforcing federal regulations that affect private behavior. This year’s report, Growth in Regulators’ Budget Slowed by Fiscal Stalemate, presents annual budget outlays and staffing levels from fiscal year 1960 to 2011, as well as estimated levels for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Though these on-budget costs of regulation represent a small fraction of the full burden of regulations to society (and do not provide information on regulations’ benefits) the time-series data presented offer useful insights into the growth and changing composition of regulation over the last half-century. The estimated regulators’ budget for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 reflects regulatory priorities such as homeland security, food and drug regulation, and financial market regulation, as well as the budget compromise reached between the President and Congress in December 2012, and continuing actions to cut domestic spending. As estimated here, the President’s proposed budget for regulation seeks $58.7 billion in FY 2013, a real (inflation-adjusted) decline of 2.1 percent from estimated FY 2012 outlays, which at $59.1 billion, are 8.6 percent higher than FY 2011.

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