In 1990, the average cost of a gallon of gas was $1.16 and you could get a dozen eggs, a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk for less than $5.00. It was also the last time that that several federal agencies increased the maximum penalties charged for regulatory violations.
Congress recently changed this, however, by enacting legislation that required federal agencies to adjust their civil penalty rates for inflation over the past 25 years.
Going forward, agencies will adjust penalties for inflation annually, but for some agencies, this one-time readjustment means increases as high as 78 percent. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are among the agencies that increased fines on August 1, 2016.
Regulators hope that the increased fines will help make compliance a priority, while some industry groups feel that fines were already high enough. Here’s a look at the increases: