Senate committee pushes paperwork reduction measure

With the blessing of various business groups, a Senate committee on Wednesday approved legislation easing the federal paperwork burden on small businesses.

In adopting by voice vote a substitute bill by Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, the Governmental Affairs Committee proposed to the full Senate a bill (S. 1271) that would help businesses deal with federal paperwork demands.

Voinovich said federal studies indicated that small businesses, in the aggregate, spend 7.2 billion man-hours and $190 billion a year in preparing and maintaining paper and electronic reports to various federal agencies, ranging from the Internal Revenue Service to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

"By one estimate," Voinovich said, "the cost per employee runs up to $5,100 a year in complying with federal paperwork requirements."

Though several of the changes were suggested by the White House Office of Management and Budget, Voinovich said, the legislation also had input and backing from the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

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