Snip-Snip … More Pay & Benefits Cuts

Posted in the 4/17/2012 edition of FedSmith, Ian Smith shared the Senate’s Budget Committee’s plan.

Speaking on the plan, the committee chairman said he would “begin a Budget Committee markup of a long-term budget for the nation. As my Chairman’s Mark, I will lay down the bipartisan Fiscal Commission plan, also known as the Bowles-Simpson plan. It is a plan which I believe represents the best blueprint from which to build a bipartisan deficit reduction agreement that can ultimately be adopted.”

So what does this mean if you’re a federal worker? Smith gives the following refresher on some of the contents of the Simpson-Bowles plan to:

  1. Impose a three-year freeze on pay for members of Congress
  2. Impose a three-year pay freeze on federal workers and Defense Department civilians
  3. Reduce the size of the federal workforce 10% through attrition
  4. Reduce federal travel, printing, and vehicle budgets
  5. Use the highest five years of earnings to calculate civil service pension benefits for new retirees (CSRS and FERS), rather than the highest three years prescribed under current law, to bring the benefit calculation in line with the private sector standard.

According to the Senate’s committed (oops… committee) chairman, he thinks it’s the best approach to achieve agreement on a long term budget plan: “I had considered presenting a budget that reflected the general consensus among the Democratic Members of the Committee. However, after considerable consultations with my colleagues, I have determined that would not be the most effective approach. The fact is that many plans have already been offered that lean right or lean left. Adding another to the stack would do little to move us closer to a bipartisan agreement that can actually be adopted. The Fiscal Commission Budget Plan provides a comprehensive and balanced deficit reduction framework that we can build upon. It is not perfect, but it does represent a middleground, consensus solution to the country’s fiscal imbalance.”

What do you think? Is this a good plan to “achieve agreement” and/or to address budget shortfalls?

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Scott Kearby

I am sure there are plenty of reasons that can be identified to support why it can’t work …so it may not be a good plan to “achieve agreement” … however that is quite a different thing from “Is it a good plan to address budget shortfalls?”.

From where I sit I think it is a good approach to close the gap on shortfalls. I work in local (County) government and manage a small group of 33 people, mostly field construction inspectors. Our budget is primarily salaries, vehicle operations, and some communications and admin/office costs. For the past 3 years we have not increased salaries, we have operated a “flat” budget, we have reduced 3 positions by attrition, and we have done whatever we could to squeeze the vehicle & office budgets. It has required some discipline & vigilance but it is do-able. I certainly think it could be done in a larger organization as well.