We NEED to change our mentality of how we deal with EXCESS FUNDS in our budgets at the end of each fiscal year. No incentive currently exists for returning money to the Treasury that was allocated for the use of a particular office or program; in fact, the incentive exists across the board to waste the excess money in a budget at the end of each fiscal year by spending it on items that are not critical to the mission of each agency. Federal regulation dictates that contracts cannot be underfunded while requesting services – that would be considered anti-deficiency – yet offices do not want to ask for enough money to fully cover their needs comfortably because any deobligation of funds is PUNISHED the next year by a reduction in budget by the same amount of funds that were RETURNED for use elsewhere by a program that may actually need the funding for a critical component of their mission. So federal regulation and common sense tell us to ensure we have enough funds, but the way each office’s budget is administered tells us to underfund every initiative or spend irrationally in order to use all funds and RETURN NO MONEY. The Government needs to find a way to reward offices who cut expenses and return money to the Agency/Treasury, instead of punishing them by a reduction in the next FY budget. This would save MILLIONS or possibly BILLIONS of dollars each fiscal year.
Idea No. 17601