Carter administration aides are circulating a potentially controversial bill that calls on all federal agencies to preparre a regulatory budget assessing the costs of all their major rules.
The legislation, if formally introduced and enacted into law, would set up the federal government's first system to assess the costs of federal regulation, a hotly debated political and economic issue.
Officials of the Office of Management and Budget who drafted the bill say the regulatory budget, patterned along the lines of the federal expenditures budget, would allow them to assess the costs to individuals, companies and state and local governments of complying with federal rules.
The bill and a summary prepared by OMB were obtained yesterday by the Washington Post.
Wayne Granquist, an associate director of OMB, said the proposal is part of the administration's regulatory-reform efforts and is designed "to build an official budget resource allocation method."
In connection with its regulatory monitoring activities, the OMB also has established an Office of Regulatory and Information Policy, which is headed by Jim Tozzi, who for seven years was in charge of the OMB's Environment Branch.
Tozzi, who is one of the authors of the bill, the Regulatory Cost Accounting Act of 1980, said that although high-level administration officials haven't approved the proposal, the OMB hopes it can convince them to introduce the bill within a year.
"The act would create a systematic body of data on the costs of complying with federal regulations which would identify key problems of regulation, and in this way would facilitate action through the political process on regulatory reform," the summary circulated with the bill said.
Opponents of the plan charge that such a proposal overlooks the benefits of regulations, particularly in the health and safety area, and only would provide ammunition to business interests hoping to gut those programs. Others say the project would cost agencies great amounts of money and resources.
The Environmental Protection Agency and Council on Environmental Quality already assemble a budget assessing the costs of complying with their rules.