I wish we could say “enough” and turn budgeteering over to a panel of non-partisans if Congress and the President can’t come up with something by a certain date. It seems like it needs something more extreme than the culture of blame (actually I would give the panel a month, and not pay Congress nor the President and his direct advisors for that month.) I liked when the Colorado legislature dreamed up the Roadless Task Force. They selected a certain number of people from each house (party) and some people that both parties could agree on. Now assuming that the US Congress isn’t even more dysfunctional than I think, there would be people that both houses could agree on, and those people, perhaps as in Colorado, could have a unique role in bringing the more extreme partisans together.
Anyway, we are now paying probably tens of thousands of people to go through budget exercises of various kinds rather than doing actual work. Right now, agency folks are prone to “Washington Monumenting”. Yet, when I was working, I did notice areas that could be cut back on managed differently to save money (and I am not talking about travel). I was also intrigued by some of the comments by federal employees on some of the articles.. like rewarding people for giving money back rather than “year end spending” to prove you really needed the bucks.
I would be interested in what you all think. I’m not sure that there is another public forum for the FS to get suggestions on reducing the budget, so I don’t know if all the potential out there has been unleashed.
They could be big or small ideas, and each idea doesn’t have to add up to any particular percentage. It is also OK to think of changes that could be put in place over up to 5 years. Finally, I’d prefer we not be obvious, for example, some of us might want to get rid of fuels reduction programs, while others would want to get rid of administrative appeals. But it’s open.
My biggest long term one would be simply to move the Forest Service to Interior, and have a five year program of harmonizing regulations between the FS and BLM. I would put back the possibility of dual delgation, which was rather abruptly removed here in Colorado for no apparent reason (IMHO). Like I’ve said in the past, when I used to be in meetings about energy projects with wildlife, NEPA, minerals and planning people, one each from each agency, with DOI solicitors and USDA OGC, I just had to wonder whether there’s a less expensive way.
Here’s a link to the 2013 Budget Justification.