Testimony will focus on the usefulness of the annual regulatory accounting statement that the Office of Management and Budget submits with the Presidentís budget. Since 1997, OMB has been required to annually produce such a report, estimating the total annual costs and benefits that result for all federal rules and paperwork. However, Congressional leaders contend that OMB has failed to enforce compliance with established accounting guidelines.
"The question now is whether there should be an annual accounting of regulatory costs by the Office of Management and Budget," explains Hopkins. "Itís a significant issue due to a growing recognition that federal spending habits arenít the only way to create costs."
Last year, Hopkins co-authored a report on the impact of regulatory costs on small firms, commissioned by the Small Business Administrationís Office of Advocacy. The report concluded that, in 2000, Americans spent $843 billion to comply with federal regulations, which equals 8 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. These off-budget costs to Americans are on top of the costs reflected in the presidentís budget.
Hopkins last testified before the same Congressional subcommittee in 1999 to discuss regulatory accounting. Since 1978, he has made 12 appearances before federal officials in the United States and Canada to discuss issues related to regulatory costs and reform.