GSA Focused on Stretching Tax Dollars

Bargains from Washington must seem rare. When was the last time you read a positive story about the federal bureaucracy? Or an agency that saved taxpayer dollars by improving programs or making tough business decisions?

Common Cents by Lurita Doan

Such agencies exist, and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is among them. GSA was created in 1949 to handle the business of government. That is, GSA provides goods, services and workspace to all the other agencies at best value so they can concentrate on their core missions.

Maybe you’ve heard of GSA. If so, it’s doubtful you know that GSA practically supports itself. Less than 2 percent of GSA funding comes from Congress. Instead, GSA runs off the fees it charges for supplying all those goods and services to the other agencies. They don’t have to use GSA, but many choose to because buying in bulk enables us to offer steep discounts. Sound familiar?

The notion of a self-funding federal agency may not take the entire sting out of this April 15th, but it might help a little. So will this:

  • GSA offers discount commercial airfares to feds on official business at an average savings of 67 percent below full commercial fares;
  • GSA Fleet saves customers about 42 percent off of commercially available vehicle leasing options;
  • GSA’s E-Gov Travel initiative saved the Treasury Department $402,000 in travel management fees last year;
  • The Federal Acquisition Institute saves taxpayers about 40 percent off commercial training prices by strategically sourcing training;
  • Projects with GSA Public Buildings Service brokers are more than 13 percent below the real estate market. And thanks to increased efficiency, leasing fees to customer agencies last year declined from 8 to 7 percent;
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