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Report: First Things First - Idaho Set to Lose Millions from Feds

March 20, 2007

Uncle Sam wants Idaho to come up with more money. That's according to a new report from United Vision for Idaho that shows that President Bush's proposed federal budget means millions less for smaller states like Idaho. It's money that would be used for things like K-12 education, higher education, home heating bill assistance and sewage system upgrades. Boise State University social work professor Bill Whitaker says it's doubtful Idaho could make up the difference without tax increases.

"It undermines the health and well-being of every Idahoan -- elders, children, students, veterans, neighborhood and environment."

He says Pentagon spending is eating up money that should be used for public services, and less federal income is expected because of the latest round of tax cuts. President Bush has promoted the budget as "fiscally responsible." But Whitaker believes budgets aren't just about money, they demonstrate priorities. And it's unfortunate that working families have slipped down the national priority list.

"If the president's version of this goes through, a whole lot of people are going to be really hurt all across the state."

Deborah Smith/Deb Courson, Public News Service - ID