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Sequestration means $102,500 cut to Owens’s office

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U.S. Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, will cut his office spending by 8.2 percent as a result of the federal spending cuts known as sequestration that went into effect on March 1.

Mr. Owens’s office has a budget of $1.25 million this year. The cut amounts to about $102,500.

He predicted Thursday that his staffing levels will remain intact.

“We’re going through and trying to assess how best to implement” the cuts, Mr. Owns said. “Clearly the idea here is not to cut staff.”

Mr. Owens has 15 people working for him.

He said the funding cut will affect overtime, travel expenses and office supplies.

“Most importantly,” Mr. Owens said, “is making sure it isn’t impacting communications with constituents.”

Mr. Owens said more town hall meetings with constituents via teleconference could be an option to reduce travel costs.

“We’re trying to get the right mix,” Mr. Owens said.

Mr. Owens pointed out that his office has “always budgeted so we’re able to give back money to the treasury.”

Jon Boughtin, spokesman for Mr. Owens, said he expects to return roughly $75,000 to the treasury for 2012.

“We budgeted so that we would have more than enough cushion,” Mr. Owens said.

Mr. Owens said he does not see the ongoing federal sequestration measures being reversed in the near future.

Sequestration ushered in $85 billion in across-the-board cuts to federal spending this year, with an additional $1 trillion in cuts over the next decade.

Federal sequestration will only affect the staff and office spending for Mr. Owens, and not his $174,000 salary. Members of Congress cannot have their salary cut without a specific vote on the matter.

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