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Bush Budget Proposal Would Reduce SEC Staff

President Bush's budget proposal for fiscal year 2002 proposes staff reductions in several areas of the Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the office of investment management which oversees mutual funds, according to an SEC document.

The plan proposes that 57 vacant positions at the SEC not be filled, 13 of which are for the regulation of investment management, according to the document.

The total proposed SEC budget for 2002 is $437.9 million, slightly up from $422.8 million in 2001, according to the document. The budget for 2000 was almost $370 million. The staff reduction compensates for pay increases and increased rent, according to the document. Salaries were raised 3.7 percent as of Jan. 1, and the same increase is being sought for 2002, according to the document.

"We support the president's budget," said a spokesperson for the SEC. "We believe we can manage our programs at these levels. Our management priority is to obtain authority for pay parity for 2002."