WASHINGTON - Taxpayers trying to figure out what President Clinton's economic package will cost them deserve to be reminded of one provision that was dropped - a freeze in salaries of federal workers.

Remember the White House hype about how the President was going to set an example of sacrifice with the federal payroll? There would be no pay increase in 1994, and annual cost-of-living increases in 1995, 1996, and 1997 were supposed to be kept a full percentage point below the inflation rate. That would mean COLAs of, say, 2.5% if the government's employment cost index went up 3.5%.

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