Wednesday, June 30, 2010

You Cut Week 6 Winner

Taxpayer Subsidized Union Activities

Saves potentially $120 million a year and $1.2 billion over ten years

Currently, some federal employees spend up to 100% of their workweek, paid by taxpayers, doing work for their union. Federal employees unions collect millions in revenue each year and spend significant amounts on political activities and lobbying, should they also be subsidized by the taxpayer for their official functions? In 2008 the Federal government spent $120 million paying employees for their time spent working on union activities (over five years this would total a minimum of $600 million.) (Also proposed as part of the RSC Sunset Caucus.)

Week 7

Prohibit Economic Assistance to Countries Who Hold More Than $50 Billion in U.S. Debt

Saves: $180+ million over ten years

Of America’s $13 trillion national debt, approximately $3.9 trillion is held by foreign countries. Over the past year, foreign holding of U.S. debt has increased by almost $700 billion. Ironically, we actually provide economic assistance in the form of foreign aid to some of our largest creditors. For example, President Obama has request at least $18 million in economic assistance for countries, including China, that hold in excess of $50 billion in U.S. government debt. In essence, Congress is borrowing money from foreign countries and then giving it right back to them for free. This proposal would prohibit any economic foreign aid to a country that holds $50 billion or more in U.S. debt.

Update Federal Employee Pensions To Reflect Private Sector Practices

Saves: $4.5+ billion over ten years

Initial pension benefits for federal civilian employees are calculated based on the average of employee's highest earnings over three consecutive years. By contrast, the private sector commonly bases benefits on a five year average. The Federal government also provides civilian employees (including Members of Congress and staff) with a benefit not normally offered to private sector employees: Federal employees who retire at age 55 or older with at least 30 years of service or at age 60 with at least 20 years of service receive an early benefit equivalent to Social Security until they reach 62. This proposal would eliminate the early retirement benefit for those who voluntarily retire early and would base pensions on the average earnings over five years.

Consolidate Federal Food Programs To Reduce Administrative Costs

Saves: $413 million over ten years

Under the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, the Department of Agriculture purchases certain food items and makes them available to states that then make the food available to local organizations that then make it available to low-income individuals. The 3-step program is only available in 39 states and serves approximately 467,000 individuals a month. Administrative costs consumer 23 percent of the program's entire budget. The same individuals who qualify for this program also qualify for traditional food stamps which are available in every state and which serve over 40 million individuals a month. Under the food stamp program, administrative expenses only consume 5 percent of the entire budget. Consolidating these two programs would allow the government to eliminate duplicative administrative costs.

Prohibit Mandated Project Labor Union Agreements That Increase Government Construction Costs

Saves: 10 to 20 percent per construction project, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars

In February of 2009, the President issued an Executive Order encouraging the use of "project-labor agreements" on federal construction projects in excess of $25 million. According to the Administration, "A project labor agreement is a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement with one or more labor organizations that establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project." Numerous studies indicate that these agreements increase costs by between 10 and 20 percent. Based on information provided by the Administration in terms of the scope of the Executive Order, project labor agreements could be applied to some portion of large construction contracts which in 2008 totaled $31,685,574,596. As a result, increased costs to taxpayers could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Prohibit Stimulus Funding for Promotional Signage And Recoup Previously Spent Funds

Saves: Tens of millions

Across the country, signs have been erected to alert citizens that certain projects are being funded by last year’s stimulus bill. These signs, often along highways, provide no meaningful information, create no jobs, and have been criticized as taxpayer funded advertisements for the stimulus bill. Unfortunately, no accurate information exists on the total number of signs erected and their cost to taxpayers. Press reports from across the country indicate, however, that the costs could well be in the millions of dollars. This proposal would prohibit funding for any additional signs, would require agencies to report on the amount already spent on signs, and would recapture those funds for taxpayers by reducing the agencies' administrative expenses by an amount equal to that spent on signs.

Wow, this week is very easy for me to decide which to vote for. 
Vote here

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