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there are often less burdensome alteratives to help agencies achieve their public policy
Mr. MCINTOSH. Thank you very much, Mr. Glover.
It may endanger my reputation, but let me say that I want to praise EPA for that effort that you have just described. I am glad to hear that. That is the type of common sense that we need in regulatory programs.
Let me pick up on the comment you made about a common element. Because it occurred to me as we were drafting this bill that that idea would go a long way toward helping to reduce duplication, and is a significant part of the problem.
I am glad to hear your testimony that the inventory could lead to such reduciton. It is one of my fondest dreams to set up a system exactly like that. And then each agency could submit a copy of your Form 1 and add to it additional schedules to get the other information they need. And then we could work to make sure that there is no duplication among the schedules. So I very much appreciate your testimony on that.
Let me ask you, what are some of the biggest problems that your office hears from small businesses regarding paperwork?
Mr. GLOVER. I think that the biggest problem is the fear of something they did not know they had to do right off the bat. I think that the next biggest problem, and I recognize that it is a conflict, is taxes, and simply the records burden that they have to maintain in keeping taxes.
We get involved in a lot of issues with the Internal Revenue Service where they unknowingly were going to do something that results in a tremendous burden. One of the successes that I think that we have seen in the last couple of years is the new pension plan regulations that have been coming out where they dramatically reduce the amount of paperwork and concerns about 401(k) plans and the new SMPA plan.
That is a real success story. I think that there are a few of those. There needs to be a whole lot more. But the paperwork around taxes is the biggest one that I hear about.
Mr. MCINTOSH. Let me ask unanimous consent to hold the record open for a week or so. If you could give us a couple of examples of successes, maybe we could trumpet those as an example to some of the other agencies as we move this bill forward.
You mentioned in your written testimony that paperwork reduction goals have not been met to date.
Do you think that agencies have sufficient incentive to do that, or do we need to have additional structures in place to help try to achieve those goals?
Mr. GLOVER. Paperwork is kind of like small business, paperwork reduction. It is everybody's second priority. And unfortunately, people do not get around to it very often. And I think that we suffer from that. Everybody says yes, we are going to reduce paperwork, but it is really hard when you have other things to do to focus on it.
I think that this legislation will be some incentive. I would suggest that the representatives be somebody who reports directly to the head of the agency. So you do not get it down so far in the organization that they cannot jump across lines.
But I think that there is an incentive needed. And I think, quite frankly, that we need a whole new reporting system. Technology is marvelous when you think about how much information can be stored and how quickly it can be sorted, compared to the old days when you had manual files and manual information. A lot of this information does not need to be reproduced in 8 or 10 different places.
So I think that there is an opportunity to do it. But we have got to start almost from a blank piece of paper. And I think that the task force should do that. They should say OK, let's design a whole new system.
We have got information collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We have got information collected by the Census Department. We have got information collected by the Internal Revenue Service. Three different systems that overlap, but do not exchange basic information.
There are a lot of reasons historically for it. But I will tell you that we have got to start with a whole new piece of paper and do it all over, if we expect to really reduce it.
Mr. MCINTOSH. Two other questions.
Is this proposed legislation consistent with President Clinton's and Vice President Gore's reinventing government initiative?
Mr. GLOVER. I think it certainly is. I am very comfortable with it as a good approach to those kinds of problems.
Mr. MCINTOSH. I guess I would ask you to put aside any interagency rivalry that may be there, but do you think that we housed the clearinghouse correctly in OMB's OIRA?
Mr. GLOVER. I think so. OIRA has done a good job. They work with those agencies every day, and I think that they have the clout necessary to make it happen. And certainly any place else would be duplicative. And I am comfortable. You need it in the White House. You need it in an inter-agency operation. I am very comfortable with OIRA. OIRA has been very successful.
And the panel process that we have with EPA, and OSHA, and OIRA, we have been able to get the agencies to pay attention and listen. I am comfortable that that is the right place.
Mr. MCINTOSH. Thank you very much.
Mr. KUCINICH. I would like to thank Mr. Glover for his testimony, and let you know that we look forward to working with you as we draft this bill. Thank you.
Mr. GLOVER. Thank you.
And thank you again for your leadership in making this a bipartisan effort.
I am going to take under consideration under the rules the request for an additional day of hearing. I think that we should be able to accommodate that in some fashion.
I would like to say that my goal is to gather information. You made a couple of suggestions today, Mr. Glover, such as making sure that it is a senior official in the agency, who is appointed to be the head of the paperwork effort. We will continue to work to improve this bill as we move it through the subcommittee and the full committee markup. And I do appreciate you coming today, and look forward to working with you on this effort.
With that, the subcommittee will stand in adjournment. Thank you.
[Whereupon, at 3:30 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
H.R. 3310, SMALL BUSINESS PAPERWORK
TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 1998
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, DC. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 4:20 p.m., in room 2247, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. David McIntosh (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives McIntosh, Sununu, Scarborough, LaTourette, Snowbarger, Sanders, Tierney, and Kucinich.
Ex officio present: Representative Waxman.
Staff present: Mildred Webber, staff director; Karen Barnes, professional staff member; Andrew Wilder, clerk; Phil Barnett, minority chief counsel; Elizabeth Mundinger, minority counsel; and Mark Stephenson, minority professional staff member.
Mr. MCINTOSH. The Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources, and Regulatory Affairs will come to order.
Today, the subcommittee holds its second hearing on H.R. 3310, the Small Business Paperwork Reduction Act Amendments of 1998. The purpose
of today's hearing is to receive comments from several Federal agencies on the bill. I particularly want to thank my colleagues, Mr. Tierney and Mr. Kucinich, who have worked with me from the start-Mr. Kucinich in developing the bill and Mr. Tierney in acquiring the witnesses for this hearing. I want to thank Mr. Kucinich" for helping to promote this bipartisan bill to give small business owners relief from the Government paperwork and gottcha techniques to which the President often refers.
Mr. Kucinich and I are proposing to add some new provisions to the Paperwork Reduction Act to help small businesses. The Federal agencies have not met their goals for reducing paperwork set by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The Office of Management and Budget reports that instead of a 10 percent reduction in 1996, paperwork was reduced across the administration by only 2.6 percent. It's estimated that the reduction for 1997 is only 1.8 percent.
Now with the exception of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the agencies represented here today have not met the target set in law. The Department of Transportation was off to a good start in 1996, with a 27 percent reduction of paperwork, but more than made up for that in 1997, when it's estimated to have increased the paperwork burden by 33 percent. The Justice Depart