Smithsonian faces $65M cut from Congress
Posted in the Minneapolis Forum
#1 Oct 21, 2013
Smithsonian faces $65M cut from Congress, may consider furloughs or museum closings
The Smithsonian Institution is facing a $65 million budget cut this year under automatic funding reductions approved by Congress. Officials say that could lead to furloughs or museum closings if the cuts persist for the year ahead.
Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough says the museum complex has trimmed its budget for the past year to absorb federal funding cuts but now may have to adopt more drastic measures. He says furloughs and temporary museum closings are up for discussion.
The Smithsonian Board of Regents met Monday to consider budget plans.
The Smithsonian also lost $4 million in revenue due to the government shutdown. The museums and National Zoo lost sales at retail stores, concessions, theaters and events.
Congress has approved a continuing resolution for funding into January.
Read more: http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/...
#3 Oct 21, 2013
Good idea, Schmahl. Sell off our national treasures.
Sure is easy to tell who didn't graduate from high school.
#4 Oct 22, 2013
Leave the Polar Putz alone. He's doing the best he can with the limited resources God gave him.
#5 Oct 22, 2013
Will never happen.
Government prides itself in creating all kinds of monopolies. Of course once they monopolize anything they control when the taxpaying public that pay for things like National Parks can access those things they paid for. Everything controlled by Government is PUBLIC PROPERTY so how can they restrict access to PUBLIC PROPERTY?
The veterans that opened the memorials in DC during the shutdown proved my point. Try as they will all that "Government Property" is public property, owned by the public.
Toward the end of the shutdown the "Feds" allowed "their" parks to be opened IF the state would fund the operation of the park. IMHO, all federal parks etc could be turned over to the states for management of same. Eliminate the NPS and save a bunch of $$$. Federal employees are over paid and states would be much better at manageing those parks, they do a fine job of manageing state parks, no need for the NPS whatsoever.
Since: Sep 11
#6 Oct 23, 2013
And to think, they could have used this money to fund the museum instead. And they say they have trimmed all the fat in our budget?
#8 Oct 23, 2013
I don't disagree with what you say, guess it was satire or other catagory that would fit.
Enjoy using state parks snowmobile trails for free. I park outside St Croix Park and drive into the park and use the public property. It really IS public property.
#10 Oct 23, 2013
I think you need to take a few basic education courses, son. Any unit of government can own property and restrict access to that property in any way they choose. Want proof? Just try going down to your local police department and tell them that you are going to inspect their offices because it is "public property". And let us know how that works for you.
And as for your suggestion on parks, following your line of thought no unit of government should maintain property for parks - all parks should be sold off to private owners - Federal, state and local. No more Lake Calhoun, no more St. Croix River, no Yellowstone Park, no boat landings, no playgrounds, nothing.
I don't claim to be a rocket scientist, but I think that an easy 90+% of Americans would agree that at least most Federal, state and local parks are worthwhile and appropriate investments.
If you still disagree, I nominate you to be the one to tell our Veterans that the Veterans Memorials in Washington DC are being sold to the highest bidder and will become the site of new luxury condos.
#11 Oct 23, 2013
You need basic reading comprehension education. Where did I say the parks should be controled by anyone but the State Government?
I work in PDs and you can take a tour of any Police Department, it is public property.
You are right on one point, you are no rocket scientist. I ain't your son, I have probably worked longer than you have lived.
What cool aid have you been in?
“I am always right.”
Since: Oct 09
Former MN Taxpayer
#12 Oct 23, 2013
I love the Smithsonian. A $65 million cut? OMG! They are going to have to close the doors. No way that we can cut this most precious American icon by such a draconian amount.
So, I then looked up the annual Appropriations request for the Smithsonian that was submitted to the US Congress as a part of he 2013 Budget process.
Sadly, it appears that my beloved Smithsonian, like virtually all federal government institutions, has become bloated, lazy, and indifferent to the needs of those that provide them with their funding.
You can see the Appropriations Request at: http://www.si.edu/content/pdf/about/FY2013-Bu...
Just a few facts about the Smithsonian:
- The Smithsonian consists of 19 museums and the National Zoo. I did not know that.
- In FY 2012, Congress appropriated $810, 231,552 for the operation of the Smithsonian Museums and the National Zoo.
- The $65,000,000 cut is 8% of their total appropriations from 2 years ago, FY 2012.
- In FY 2012, the Smithsonian Museums spent $635,511,552 of that operating budget on salaries and expenses related to the employees. That equates to 78% of the total budget.
- In FY 2012, the Smithsonian Museums employed the Full Time Equivalent of 4,195 employees.
- Per employee expenditure in FY 2012 was $151,492.62 for salary, benefits, and expenses.
An AVERAGE of $151,000 per employee? That is obscene.
OK, I wanted to be fair and look closer at this. I thought that the per employee expenditure was an unrealistically high number, even for the Federal Imperial Government.
So I looked at requested appropriations for FY 2103. I ran across a request for one additional employee in the Supply Diversity Program of the Smithsonian. This was, according to the Appropriations Request, an additional employee without specific skills (e.g., a PHD in Applied American History or some such requirement) in order to lessen the burden on the over worked department that looks for a diverse base of suppliers. In other words, an additional clerical position. The request for funding to add this one job:$161,000 per year.
Give what I saw in the Annual Appropriations request, a $65,000,000 decrease in funding for the Smithsonian Museums is not enough of a cut.
Cut the Smithsonian by a full 15% of their operating budget. The American people have had to deal with doing more with less. It is time the Federal Imperial Government has to do the same.
#16 Oct 23, 2013
The term "Burden Rate" which you understand is the total cost of an average employee. The cost includes building, IT, HR, utilities, health care, vacation time etc. Do you suppose that is the $150K cost of those Government employees?
Back in the day '70s the burden rate was about $50K or about twice the salary of staff.
#17 Oct 23, 2013
With the disasterous ObamaCare rollout the GOP could have let it happen and by election time 2014 the electorate will boot the Libertards. Once fully implemented and the actual costs are realized ObamaCare will be known for what it is, a disaster.
#19 Oct 23, 2013
No shooting here, just an exchange. Something you to could also do.
“I am always right.”
Since: Oct 09
Former MN Taxpayer
#20 Oct 23, 2013
You are absolutely correct with the term. Although, other than in the offices of your staff accountant, or your CPA, you typically will not run across "burden rate" any more. On ROI calculations, you will typically see the labor rate broken by the various job functionalities (admin, shop, production, sales, etc.). It is thought to be more impressive for the accounting types to differentiate between job functionalities.
As a general rule, in the private sector, you can use 2/3 as the salary portion of the burden labor rate. That would mean the average salary for the Smithsonian would be just over $100,000 if it were in the private sector.
Since it is in the public sector, and they generally have a higher cost of benefits, I would guess that the average salary is more in the $90,000 -$95,000 per year range. That still is an obscene number for the average when so many of the jobs are simply acting as ushers or tour guides in the various museums.
#21 Oct 23, 2013
$90 IS obscene but that is what Feds are compensated. A friend works as a tree monitor in northren Minnesota and he makes $90K.
That's why I say the States can do a lower cost of running National Parks that the Feds.
The root cause of Government problems is they NEVER reduce any costs unless it's shut down or sequestered. Monopolies out of control ever expanding.
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