Group pushes one cent solution for budget woes

Group pushes one cent solution for budget woes

June 29th, 2011 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region


* Cut federal spending 1 percent each year for six years

* Balance the budget by 2018

* Reduce federal spending by $7.5 trillion over 10 years

* Reduce the debt $3.4 trillion over 10 years.

Source: Citizens for Restoring America's Financial Future

Chattanooga is the first city nationally targeted by a group that hopes to garner signatures countrywide on petitions calling for a balanced budget by 2018.

"You've got city leadership really committed to the concept," said Bruce Cook, chief executive of the nonprofit group Citizens for Restoring America's Financial Future.

About 70 Chattanooga area business leaders and others met with Cook on Tuesday at Southern Champion Tray in Chattanooga, said company Chairman Chuck Zeiser.

He said plans are to have each person collect 50 signatures on the petitions supporting the One Percent Reduction Act of 2011 introduced earlier this year by U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla.

"He has really been an asset," Cook said about Mack.

Under the group's plan, called the One Cent Solution, a penny could be trimmed from each federal spending dollar for five to six years. In five years, the amount of spending cuts would total 5 cents for every federal dollar spent, according to Cook.

The group predicts the reductions would balance the budget in the period, he said.

Cook said the first part of the bill, which has 42 co-sponsors, sets spending caps year to year equal to the 1 percent reduction. Congress would then in its committee and budget process determine spending levels. If the entire spending reduction isn't achieved, an across-the-board cut would take place, Cook said.

"Nobody in Congress wants that," he said. "We think that will be the teeth in the bill."

Finally, after six years, there would be a chance to pay down the debt with increases in revenues, he said.

The group plans petition signings in 25 other cities, including Orlando, Dallas and Denver.

By the end of next year, he said the group would like to add 75 more cities.