By Aaron Trippler
Here’s a quick look at the president’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2014. This budget is not likely to be passed. The Democrats, the Republicans and the president each have a different budget, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Continuing Resolution for at least the first three to four months of FY 2014.
In the president’s proposed budget, OSHA would receive:
- $570.5 million overall
- a $5.9 million increase for the Whistleblower Protection Program
- a $2 million decrease for compliance assistance
Everything else is essentially the same in the proposed budget. Now, while this proposal is not entirely positive for OSHA compared to the agency’s FY 2013 final funding of around $565 million, it should be considered a positive that OSHA received a small increase. What is even more positive is the fact that the president recognized that the sequester cuts went way too far when it comes to protecting worker health.
There are two other things to report for the OSHA budget. First, VPP funding is included, but I don’t know how much. The compliance assistance area also says they will not approve as many strategic partnerships and alliances in 2014. Second, the consolidation is still proposed. The language states:
“Finally, in an effort to streamline agency operations, the budget request proposes a reorganization of OSHA’s regional structure and jurisdictional authority from its current operation of 10 Regional Offices (ROs) to seven. The reorganization will involve the consolidation of OSHA’s Regions 1 (Boston) and 2 (New York); Regions 7 (Kansas City) and 8 (Denver); and, Regions 9 (San Francisco) and 10 (Seattle). These consolidations are expected to result in a savings of $1,300,000 and three FTE.”
Unfortunately, the president’s proposed budget is terrible news for NIOSH. The FY 2014 budget provides $272 million for occupational safety and health programs, $53 million below FY 2013. And the real bad news is for the Education and Research Centers (ERCs). The budget continues targeted reductions to programs such as the ERCs and the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing Program within the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA).