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Bush Budget Would Impact Minnesota

February 5, 2008

St. Paul, MN – President Bush has sent Congress the country's highest budget proposal ever, over three trillion dollars. It includes increases for national security and cuts in a number of health and social programs.

Minnesota budget analyst Steve Francisco says, other than the price tag, it's nothing new.

"It is, basically, more spending on defense and international affairs, less spending targeting low-income people who are on Medicare and Medicaid for deep cuts, and making the tax cuts permanent."

The President calls his plan a "good, solid budget." Democrats call it a continuation of failed policies, which erased a trillion-dollar-plus surplus and replaced it with record debt.

Francisco says the proposed cuts of almost $200 billion for health care would hit Minnesota particularly hard.

"If you start restricting the ability of Minnesota and other states, you start restricting their flexibility to determine Medicaid eligibility, some people could lose their Medicaid coverage. As people lose their health care coverage that's paid for, in part, by the federal government, these problems are going to land at the doorstep of states like Minnesota. Remember, Minnesota and other states are facing their own budget shortfalls, because of the slowing economy right now."

The President's budget now goes to Congressional budget committees for consideration. His spending plan is up six percent from the current year.

Francisco says the proposed budget has its priorities backwards.

"Tax cuts are aimed disproportionately at the wealthiest Americans. Deep cuts to health care are targeted towards seniors, people with disabilities and low income families, and deficits are going to be over $400 billion for the next several years."

The Bush budget projects a $410 billion deficit this year, $407 billion next year.

Jim Wishner/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - MN