SAVE award finalists have online focus

Three of the ideas feature a strong Web component; the exception is a suggestion from a food inspector in Michigan who pointed out that food sample containers needn't be returned using express shipping, which costs significantly more. Another popular suggestion was having mine operators and contractors report quarterly coal production and worker hours online, an area receiving more scrutiny since the rescue of trapped Chilean miners last month.

A Bureau of Prisons employee in Wisconsin questioned the cost of printing and mailing out the Federal Register to 10,000 recipients every day when it is available online, while a Department of Homeland Security paralegal argued advertizing seized property online could move goods more quickly while saving money on advertising. 

Those interested can vote for their favorite suggestion online; the winner will get to travel to the White House to meet the president and present their idea in person.

"Make no mistake: the SAVE Award will not balance the budget. But cutting waste and restoring accountability for taxpayer dollars is important if the budget is in surplus or in deficit," Zients said.