Budget Proposals a Poor Arithmetic Lesson
Higher out-of-pocket costs + reduced benefits = unfair burdens carried by military families.
On April 9, the Military Personnel subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) held a hearing to allow beneficiary and advocacy groups to voice their concerns about the President’s FY15 budget. Oral testimony heard that day was limited to just two panelists, but the subcommittee will review all written testimony submitted, including ours
The Senate held a similar hearing, giving the House a chance to offer their perspective on the FY15 budget. Described by one subcommittee member as a ‘poor arithmetic lesson,’ the hearing featured panelists who pointed out that sequestration puts a lop-sided responsibility on the Department of the Defense (DoD) to balance the budget. And as a result, DoD has been making budget decisions solely on numbers, causing military families to bear the brunt of the costs.
Cost-Shifting Doesn’t Equal Cost-Saving
Military families are not fooled. The FY15 budget proposals shift costs from DoD, directly to service members and their families. The proposals are NOT cost-savings measures; rather they require service members and their families to pay for essential benefits and services that have been promised to them.
While the overall impact of the proposals will vary from family to family, The Military Coalition representative Col. Mike Hayden, USAF (Ret.) estimates an E5 with a family of four will lose $5,000 a year in purchasing power. For an O3 with a family of four, the loss would be $6,000 a year.
Measure Twice, Cut Once… or Not at All
Subcommittee members and panelists alike both emphasized the importance of waiting for the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) to finish their report. The MCRMC was charged with looking at the total benefits and compensation package. The FY15 budget’s piecemeal approach of cutting things here and there doesn’t include the MCRMC’s findings. We need comprehensive solutions to address DoD’s budget shortfalls, not cost-shifting measures that take money and benefits away from military families.
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Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
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