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The Federal Worker question of the week is a joint partnership of GovLoop and the Washington Post.


The Obama administration released its 2013 federal budget this week. Federal Eye blogger Ed O'Keefe offers an agency by agency analysis and it's not looking good for most of you in the Executive Branch. Here are some quick excerpts:

Up

  • "seeking a 5 percent increase to the Commerce budget, to $8 billion"
  • "steep increase [at HUD] for a program known as Project Rebuild that aims to help local governments rehabilitate, redevelop or demolish vacant properties left behind by the housing crisis"

Down

  • "slashes spending at the Department of Agriculture by about $700 million, or 3 percent compared to this year’s spending levels"
  • "trimming the Environmental Protection Agency's budget 1.2 percent"

In addition, as Doris Tirone shares in her discussion, it sounds like federal workers are being asked to pay more into retirement.

So we're wondering what you think:

1) Which agency cuts go too far? Should there be others? 

2) What do you think of the budget’s proposal that federal workers pay more into their retirement plans?

Tags: Federal Buzz, Federal budget, President Obama's budget, Washington Post

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Looking at that graph two things jump out. One - we're spending 1.1 trillion more than we take in. Two - entitlements and interest take up 2/3rds of the budget.

Looking all those pretty budget books, with thousands of pages, one can't help but ask, "What happened to paper reduction?"

KInd of like saying, "Cut government fleets and only procure, all electric, hybrid, and/or flex-fuel vehicles."  Sounds great....we (outside the beltway) are "mandated" to do that, but look around DC at all those pretty gas guzzling Suburbans with tinted windows and govy plates attached.

We have cut our paper consumption as mandated by the paper reduction act....but, well you all see it with your own eyes.

Amen Julie!  The budget itself is at too high a level, not to mention ignored by Congress, to stimulate an emotional response.  What would it matter anyways?  A larger lesson is in the manner in which it is delivered, printed on tree-killing, costly paper.  We all need to really have a conviction to operate more efficiently and demonstrate our conviction that the  government can be more responsible, starting with the way we present the budget.

No kidding.  If one is looking for cuts....look no further than your own office.  Our office has been in the paper reduction for quite some time now.  I admit our technology is a bit dated (turn of century maybe), but what we can save/store, we do.  Printing is kept at a minimum.  We use email and Share Point, plus we purchase large external drives for storage, since our contractor is stingy.  Any procedures or sign off, I no longer walk to my managers office and place in the IN box.  I email in .pdf and he digitally signs everything and returns it to me.  I save a copy for myself and if it has to be sent, it is emailed.  Larger files, I put on a CD which gets delivered to whatever office needs to look at it OR, what we are starting to do now is put it on Share Point and give permission to the person/s/ who we want to access it, to get it.  We have "mandatory" recycling, everything from toner cartridges to water bottles.  Due to the hiring freeze we are short close to 50 people and we can't hire.  We aren't in the 1 for every 3 program that every other agency is blessed with.

 

It's kind of funny to us.....because we are "told" from "on high" we must do this.  Our govvy fleet has been cut and organizations beg and borrow from each other on the installation for a vehicle (which is either electric, hybrid, or flex fuel, as mandated).  However, when the VIP's come down from DC to visit with us, they ask the Transport for "A LARGE SUV".  At our installation, we don't have any to give them, because of the mandate.  It would do my heart good to see them riding around in a C Pool Dodge Avenger or electric cart like we have to.  Do as I say, not as do, is the norm.

 

There are some "cuts" right there....and look, no RIF, no loss of employees...nice huh?  Now do we really need a gov provided Andriod??  Really??  Do we??

I did notice there was a QR code to go to the online version of the budget on the cover of the budget document. This is a new addition from previous years' budgets. Not sure if it decreases the paperwork problem much, but you would think rather than getting another hard copy someone might scan the QR code on a colleague’s copy for their own perusal.

Ya think?  It's impact hits everyone's home!  See "Scud Three" :-)!

What has me peeved, Andy, is: 1. what lead us to these and more inevitable cuts in the future, 2. our willingness to kick the can down the road for as long as we can.

One thing to keep in mind when looking at budget request numbers: If your agency's budget shows the same number for the fiscal 2013 request as the estimated enactment for fiscal 2012, your budget was actually slightly cut. Even though the numbers are the same, your budget would have to increase slightly to account for inflation in order to remain steady.

For example at Commerce, "Departmental Staff Services" would get $24M in fiscal 2013--the same amount it's expected to spend in fiscal 2012--that represents a real decrease of 1.92%.

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