Paperwork burden declines.

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The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) requires the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to report to Congress on the paperwork burden imposed on the public by the federal government and efforts to reduce this burden. The OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) recently released the 2005 Information Collection Budget of the U.S. Government, showing that, in fiscal year 2004, the total paperwork burden was 7.971 billion hours, compared to 8.099 billion hours in FY 2003.

The 128 million hour difference represented an overall reduction of 1.6 percent in the federal paperwork burden. This resulted from a decrease of 156 million hours in net adjustments that were partially offset by an increase of 28.5 million hours in net program changes. Total decreases in the burden resulting from discretionary program changes due to agency actions (and excluding changes due to PRA violations), resulted in a burden reduction of 96.8 million hours.

Notably, the Department of the Treasury, which accounts for about 80 percent of the federal burden, produced a decline of 36.3 million hours in net program changes. However, net program changes for the federal government increased by 28.5 million hours due to a combination of program changes resulting from statutory requirements...

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