Treasury says it can skimp and save

Feb. 13, 2012 at 5:02 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither touted the department's proposed budget allocation as an effort to be thrifty, but also create jobs.

"The president's budget makes critical investments to strengthen our nation's economic competitiveness and spur job creation, while putting in place long-term fiscal reforms that will help improve our capacity to sustain growth in the future," Geithner said in a statement.

"As part of that comprehensive strategy, Treasury is continuing to support key priorities that will help strengthen economic growth, as well as identifying innovative ways to deliver essential services at lower costs to taxpayers," he said.

Key points in the Treasury's budget includes $286 million the department said can be saved through a proposal to consolidate the Bureau of the Public Debt and Financial Management Services. The new agency would be called simply Fiscal Service, the department said.

The move follows a merger of two information technology centers that are projected to save the department $129 million over five years.

The budget also includes proposed legislation to allow the Treasury to use different materials in the composition of nickels and pennies.

Currently, the Treasury said, it costs more than a dime to make a nickel and more than two cents to make a penny. About $75 million can be saved in fiscal year 2013 through more efficient manufacturing, the department said.

Savings already realized include $50 million each year from suspending production of $1 presidential coins for circulation and $300 million over five years by moving to electronic payments for federal beneficiaries.

In total, the Treasury said it would make do with a budget that is 2.7 percent below the fiscal year 2012 allocation, excluding funds for the IRS.

The budget for the IRS is viewed in a different light. "The IRS' request includes investments in enforcement activities that will contribute significantly to improving voluntary compliance with the tax code," the Treasury said.

The word voluntary might be debatable. "Every dollar spent on the IRS yields more than four dollars in increased revenue from non-compliant taxpayers," the Treasury said.

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