Monday, September 27, 2010

Carly Fiorina Offers Solutions on Government Spending

Today, GOP senatorial candidate, Carly Fiorina, unveiled a plan to cut spending in Washington including placing a cap on federal spending (including earmarks), allowing people to designate their taxes to help pay down the national debt and greater transparency and forthrightness in legislative spending bills:

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina on Monday proposed a wide-ranging plan to rein in Washington's spending — ranging from a federal spending cap to letting people designate their taxes toward paying down debt.

Fiorina unveiled the proposals to about two dozen Republican students at the University of San Diego and told them that out-of-control government spending continues to "suck more and more of your future from your pockets and into a vast and unaccountable bureaucracy in Washington D.C."

"I think if we do not start fighting for our jobs in this country, then you will not have the same opportunities that I had when I was growing up," she said. "If we do not start getting government spending under control, then we will be saddling you with mountains of debt that you will be unable to repay."

The former Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive and Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer are in a close contest less than five weeks before Election Day and are trying to position themselves as the one better suited to help turn around the nation's struggling economy.

Boxer campaign manager Rose Kapolczynski said although Fiorina supports limited spending, Fiorina would also fund tax cuts for the wealthy by reducing the amount of money available for student loans and highway improvements.

"Barbara Boxer supports cutting government spending, and this week in the Senate, she's voting in favor of legislation to end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas," Kapolczynski said in an e-mailed statement.

Fiorina's plan would give taxpayers the option to designate up to 10 percent of their federal tax dollars toward paying off the national debt by possibly adding a line to tax forms to do that.

If taxpayers designated 10 percent of their federal tax liability toward that end, the government could raise $95 billion in one year.

She said she also wants Congress to prioritize spending, set annual caps and eliminate earmarks.

Earmarks allow lawmakers to direct spending toward projects back to their home state or congressional district. Democratic lawmakers have gradually lowered spending on earmarks in recent years, but not to the degree that some want. Republican lawmakers have agreed to a temporary moratorium on earmarks for the coming fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Boxer obtained 97 earmarks costing $130.4 million this year, and Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a member of the Appropriations Committee, obtained 158 earmarks costing $211.3 million, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, an advocacy group that tracks federal spending. The earmarks funded everything from projects to ease Southern California's congestion to funding research for military-related neurological disorders.

Fiorina called for spending caps like those sought in an amendment sponsored by Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. The amendment would allow for 1.5 percent increases in discretionary spending. A two-thirds majority would be required to exceed the cap. Another $10 billions would be set aside for emergencies.

Fiorina said Congress should evaluate the cost of every bill and put agency budgets and quarterly spending reports online. Legislative bills also should be posted online to allow public comment two weeks before lawmakers vote on it, she said.

The Congressional Budget Office generally provides lawmakers with a major bill's estimated cost. The text of new bills and resolutions is publicly displayed on a web site maintained by The Library of Congress.

In addition, Fiorina proposes reducing the federal work force to 2008 levels by freezing the pay of federal civilian employees and hiring one civilian employee for every two who leave government service. The only exception, she said, would be for those working in areas of national security.

She is calling for ending bailouts and returning unused stimulus money to the Treasury to use it for debt reduction, saying it has not gotten results.

Crossposted here.

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