The 2013 SAVE Award Contest Begins
In 2009, President Obama created the SAVE Award (Securing Americans Value and Efficiency), encouraging federal employees to submit their ideas to reduce waste, make the federal goverment more efficient, and save money. The contest will continue this year with yesterday's announcement of the fifth annual SAVE Award contest.
The White House reports that over the past four years, federal employees have submitted over 85,000 ideas for the contest. Past winners include:
- Switching transit benefits for federal employees from a regular fare to a senior fare as soon as they become eligiable in 2012
- A "lending library" for specialized tools used by NASA in 2011
- Limiting distribution of copies of the Federal Register only to those who need them in 2010
- Allowing patients to take medications with them on discharge instead of throwing them out in 2009
Even ideas that don't win the contest are still used to help the federal government save money. The White House claims that over 80 SAVE Award submissions have been included in the President's last four budgets.
In the past, we've described the program as a "gimmick we like." The submissions may contain only small savings, but they are clearly good ideas that help the government operate more efficiently. However, only a combination of entitlement reform, tax reform, and targeted spending cuts will be able to put the budget on a sustainable path - requiring tough choices. Still, even small proposals that save the government money should be encouraged, since reducing unnecessary spending shows taxpayers that their money is being spent more wisely.
Click here to learn more and submit an idea.