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Rep. Owens office will see cuts, not staff reductions

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The office of Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, will see an 8.2 percent reduction in spending as a result of federal spending cuts, known as sequestration, that went into effect on March 1.

Out of a budget of roughly $1.25 million this year, that represents about $102,500 in cuts.

But Mr. Owens is not predicting that he will have to downsize his staff.

“We’re going through and trying to assess how best to implement those [cuts],” Mr. Owns said. “Clearly the idea here is not to cut staff.”

Mr. Owens has a total of 15 people working for him.

Instead he is focusing on cutting overtime, travel expenses and reducing how much his office spends on office supplies.

“Most importantly,” Mr. Owens said, “is making sure it isn’t impacting communications with constituents.”

Mr. Owens said more telephone town hall meeting could be an option to cut down on travel costs.

“We’re trying to get the right mix,” Mr. Owens said.

Mr. Owens pointed out that his office has “always budgeted so we’re able to give back money to the Treasury.”

Jon Boughtin, spokesman for Mr. Owens, said he expects to return roughly $75,000 to the Treasury for 2012.

“We budgeted so that we would have more than enough cushion,” Mr. Owens said.

Mr. Owens said he does not see the ongoing sequestration being resolved in the near future.

Sequestration ushered in $85 billion in across-the-board cuts to federal spending this year, with another $1 trillion in cuts over the next decade.

Federal sequestration will only impact the staff and office spending for Mr. Owens and not his $174,000 salary. Congress members cannot have their salary cut without a specific vote on the matter.

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