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Begich Launches 'Reduce the Deficit' Website Feature

Alaskans asked to weigh in on how to reduce deficit, cut spending

In an ongoing effort to find the best ways to reduce the national deficit and find innovative ideas to curb government growth, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today launched a feature on his website asking Alaskans for their ideas on how to cut the budget and reduce the deficit.

"We simply can't maintain our current course which continues to jeopardize our economic good health. We have to make tough choices; everybody will feel pain," Begich said at a news conference in Anchorage. "I believe the solution must be balanced - a combination of spending cuts, efficiencies and dramatic changes in the way we've been doing business for decades."

Begich's website www.begich.senate.gov. has a feature on the front page making it simple and easy for Alaskans to submit budget cutting and deficit reducing suggestions. Contributors are asked for basic contact information and box is provided for suggestions. As time goes on, some of the ideas will be featured on the website.

"I know Alaskans have great ideas - often better than many of the decision-makers in Washington - so let me hear from you," Begich added.

In conjunction with the web feature launch, Begich announced cuts he will support moving forward. First explaining the current budget bill before Congress for funding FY2011 contains a $41 billion cut that will be felt across the nation. Begich outlined specifics he supports:

·         5-year spending freeze on discretionary federal spending ($400 billion savings over 10 years);

·         Cut subsidies to farms worth over $1 million ($2.5 billion savings over 10 years);

·         Cut the budget for Congressional printing/binding by 50 percent ($47 million savings every year);

·         Sell excess federal properties the govt. no longer uses ($15 billion savings over 10 years).

Two other items that are already the subject of legislation:

·         Negotiate Medicare prescription drug prices ($24 billion savings every year);

·         Close tax loopholes for companies doing business and exporting jobs overseas ($130 billion savings over 10 years).

Begich said these are just a few of the items he supports to save money and reduce the deficit, but there will be more in the future.

"If we cut without planning, if we don't invest in our economy while reducing the size of government, we will stall our economic recovery," Begich said. "It took years of sometimes irresponsible spending to get to where we are today. It will take years to get this nation back in the black. That's why it will be so useful to hear from Alaskans your ideas on how to get our country back on firm financial footing."

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