It took a couple of months, but the General Services Administration has announced a pay increase of sorts for some federal employees.
In November, the Internal Revenue Service increased the mileage reimbursement rate for Americans who qualify for the reimbursement rate to 48.5 cents per mile–up from 44.5 cents per mile. (For those with a long memory, you are not dreaming; the reimbursement rate used to be 48.5 cents per mile and then was reduced on January 1, 2006). By law, the rate paid to federal employees cannot exceed the amount allowed by the Internal Revenue Service.
The mileage reimbursement rate is the money paid to federal employees for using Privately Owned Automobiles (POA) for official travel when it is advantageous to their agencies. The mileage rate will increase from 44.5 cents to 48.5 cents per mile on February 1, 2007 after approval by the Office of Management and Budget. A GSA press release notes that "in consultation with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Defense, and representatives of employee organizations of the Federal government, GSA conducts periodic investigations of costs associated with travel and operation of privately owned vehicles on a yearly basis."
It doesn’t always take GSA a couple of months to approve an increase in the mileage rate despite the consultation with the list of federal organizations listed in the press release. Way back in 2005, the IRS announced a rate increase in the mileage rate on September 9th and the increase was approved for federal employees on September 14th.
As of this writing though, the GSA website does not reflect the change and the change has not been posted in the Federal Register. But, with the GSA press release, approval seems assured and the delay in the increase probably saved the federal government a few bucks.The good news for those federal employees who use their own cars for agency business is that you will be getting a little more money in your reimbursement check.