August 1, 2008

Regulatory Agency Spending Reaches New Height

Key materials
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This annual report examines the Budget of the U.S. Government presented by the President to Congress for FY 2009 to track the expenditures of federal regulatory agencies and the staff needed to run these agencies. Key findings for the FY 2009 budget include:

  • The President’s 2009 budget calls for expenditures on regulatory activities of  $51.1 billion for the next fiscal year. This 2009 Regulators’ Budget request is larger than the estimated budget of $48 billion in FY 2008 and reflects both a nominal increase and an increase in real, inflation-adjusted terms.
  • The 2009 outlays are likely to be much higher than the budget estimates.Take the 2008 budget, for instance. To date, the spending on regulatory activities for 2008 is already significantly outpaced the figure requested by the President in February of 2007 for the 2008 budget. Last year, the President requested an increase in spending for 2008 of 3.8 percent over 2007 spending. A year later, the 2008 budget is estimated to be 10.4 percent larger than the 2007 budget.
  • Between 2008 and 2009, regulatory spending is projected to grow by 6.4 percent. This is in line with the previous year’s growth rate. With the exception of 2008, this rate is higher than the five previous years.
  • Staffing at federal regulatory agencies is budgeted to increase 3.3 percent in 2009 to 263,989 full-time equivalent employees. That is an increase of 8,359 employees over the 2008 level of 255,630.
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—especially the Transportation Security Administration portion of DHS’s regulatory budget—continues its steady expansion. DHS accounts for the largest staff increases in the 2009 Regulators’ Budget. However, the Energy subcategory is scheduled to receive the biggest percentage increase in spending over 2008.
  • During both of his terms, President Bush has presided over the largest increase in regulatory spending. Also, the President’s 2002 and 2003 regulatory budgets were among the 10 biggest annual increases in regulatory spending in the last 60 years.