Few agencies, including OMB, correctly follow the Paperwork Reduction Act regulations. OMB can automate the process for evaluating reporting burden. OMB should commission an inquiry-building Web site modeled after one of many commercially available services and host it on data.gov. OMB could extrapolate burden from question type, question length (i.e., question word count, option count, or maximum response length for open ended questions), and inquiry length (i.e., total number of questions). OMB could set annual burden ceilings for agencies that appear in the Federal Register. All responses would go through the inquiry Web site. Based on inquiry count and total responses, agencies could track the amount of “burden” used at any point in the year, kind of like a burden budget. This way not every single instrument would need a comment period. And the agency and OMB could control total burden. This way, the public, the agency, and Federal partners will contend with fewer brief inquiries thus saving everyone significant time and money.
Idea No. 7362