Legislation spends money to save money

Taxpayers may be interested to know what it will cost to reduce government waste. It isn't cheap. 

The Taxpayers Right-to-Know Act would require government agencies to shed more sunlight on each of their programs, including costs and potential duplication. The legislation requires the head of federal agencies in each fiscal year to identify and detail every program administered by their agency. The legislation also seeks to eradicate duplicative program efforts.

But implementing the bill doesn’t come cheaply. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that adopting H.R. 3609 would cost around $100 million over the 2013-2017 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.

The legislation would also add additional reporting requirements for agencies, including reports on the total administrative costs and contract services for each program, CBO said. The current Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance includes more than 2,200 programs and services that provide assistance or benefits to citizens. The proposed bill, however, would include any federal service, process, grant, contract, cooperative expense, compact, loan, lease or agency guidance to be listed.
 
Passing the bill could have an impact on direct spending by agencies not funded through annual appropriations; meaning pay-as-you-go procedures would be applicable. However, any net increase in spending by those agencies would be negligible. Enacting H.R. 3609 would not affect revenues, CBO said.

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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