The Reagan administration yesterday unveiled its latest regulatory relief "hit list," targeting a handful of federal rules that it said give state and local officials the biggest headaches.
Vice President Bush, who chairs the Presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief, issued a statement saying that the eight rules "have been the subject of frequent complaints from state and local officials." Related story, Page C1
For instance, Bush said, the federal government plans to revise Education Department regulations that require record-keeping and financial reporting "in mind-numbing detail" by state and local governments, non-profit institutions and other organizations.
The administration has called regulatory relief the "cornerstone" of its "New Federalism" initiative to transfer many federal responsibilities to state and local governments.
It previously targeted 27 regulations that the task force said placed an unreasonable regulatory burden on state and local governments. Of those, 13 have been revised, and the other 14 are under review.
In addition, it has revised 11 other rules affecting state and local officials and is reviewing five more that were not targeted by the task force.
The administration said its efforts to date have saved state and local governments between $4 billion and $6 billion in total investment costs, largely through revisions of the Transportation Department's handicapped-accessibility rules, withdrawal of proposed bilingual education rules, and expansion of the Environmental Protection Agency's air bubble program.
But a representative of one association of local governments said that "the indication of savings is distorted." The estimate that relaxing DOT's handicapped-accessibility rules would save $2.2 billion is "excessive," she said, adding: "Allocating savings on the air emissions policy to us is ridiculous," because the savings will go to industry.
The administration said completed revisions and paperwork reductions have also saved state and local governments $2 billion in annual recurring costs and almost 11.8 million work hours per year.
On the other hand, some states have complained that the federal government wants to turn over some regulatory responsibilities--such as areas of environmental enforcement and monitoring grant programs--without providing additional funding to do the job.
In addition to the Education Department regulation, these are the latest hit list targets:
* Requirements that state governments file detailed reports on how they spend Health and Human Services Department funds on programs for the disabled, aged and children. States complained that these rules impose excessively detailed reporting requirements, according to the administration.
* Stipulations that employes of mass transit systems that receive federal funds get special employment protection. This controversial provision, part of the Urban Mass Transit Act, has delayed mass transit funding and has been sharply criticized by associations of local governments for several years.
* Regulations prohibiting urban transportation operators from using buses purchased with federal funds for charter services outside the area they normally serve. The administration said that several cities have complained about this restriction.
* Requirements that changes in "layout plans" for publicly owned airports that receive federal grants must be reviewed by the Federal Aviation Administration for the next 20 years.
* Procedures for reviewing the potential impact of proposed federal agency actions on sites listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
* Requirements spelling out how states have to meet national clean air standards. The administration feels that the lack of flexibility has discouraged innovation by the states.
* Policies that restrict federally supported development on land subject to flooding. The administration wants to determine whether the restrictions need to be strengthened.