Commonsense Proposals for Sustainable Government

In the midst of federal and state deficits at record levels, politicians are attempting to run the government similar to a business. Elected officials are pushing accountability and fiscal responsibility of taxpayer funds — no longer willing to squander tax revenue to special interests. For example, officials are exploring proposals including: merit based pay, open bids for contracts, and defined contribution plans for government agencies and employees. In recent news these efforts can be seen.

Letting the free market select the best offer pertaining to government contracts via The Washington Examiner:

The protest challenged the VA’s PLA mandate that appeared in a September bid solicitation for the Research Office Building. The PLA requirement discriminated against qualified open shop contractors and their employees by imposing union dues requirements and inefficient and costly union work rules as a condition of performing work on the project.

Bridges Construction of Pittsburgh recently filed a bid protest with the Government Accountability Office after the federal government tried to impose a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) as part of the federal contract in the construction of a $50 mllion Veterans Affairs building. PLAs are construction contracts negotiated in advance that basically mandate union labor — a study from the Beacon Hill institute found that PLAs make construction projects 12 percent to 18 percent more expensive on average.

Contributions from public sector employees toward their own pension plans as reported on

•?Replace the current oversight boards with joint labor/management boards for each of the pension systems. The boards would be made up of an equal number of union and state officials, who would decide who would manage the fund’s investments and determine the rate employees and employers pay into the fund.

•?Employees and employers would have to pay more into the pension system if its fiscal health declines. Sweeney, a general organizer for the International Association of Ironworkers, said his union members agreed to pay $2 more per hour to keep their pension system going.

•?Workers would either forgo a 9 percent pension boost they got 10 years ago, or keep it but pay more into the system.

“To put it simply, if public workers want a higher pension, then they’ll have to pay more for it,” said Oliver.

•?Those with less than five years of service at the time of the new law’s enactment would no longer get cost of living adjustments. Workers with more than five years would be eligible, but would have to pay a higher rate to get them.

These propositions demonstrate signs that government is listening to the American people and making strides to get a handle on the rising debt. Government officials are realizing that employees should be held accountable for their performance on the job, provide for their own retirement, and agencies should award government contracts to the best offer. These private sector standards should be required in the public sector, to keep costs down and promote competition.