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New Report: Oregon Price Tag for Iraq War at $6 Billion

March 19, 2008

Portland, OR – Today is the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, and the National Priorities Project has released a state-by-state estimate of what the war has cost. For Oregon, the price tag is $4.2 billion already spent, with another $1.8 billion budgeted. The numbers are expected to be reflected in this week's "State of the State" address from Governor Ted Kulongoski.

Spending on the war has had an impact on states because of federal budget cuts. Greg Speeter, executive director of the National Priorities Project, says that, while Oregon is feeling the budget pinch, about two dozen states are having full-blown financial crises.

"The total amount of money that those states are not able to raise comes to about $40 billion, and yet, those states, cumulatively, are spending $70 billion on the war in Iraq this year."

Speeter explains the math behind his organization's estimates isn't all that complicated: each state's cost is based on the share of taxes that residents pay into the federal budget. Speeter believes that, nationwide, there are plenty of other uses for the money.

"The $522 billion that we've spent could have rebuilt every school that needed to be rebuilt in this country, and we have one-third of the schools that need to be rebuilt. It could also have rebuilt all the bridges that need to be repaired in this country, and that's 77,000 bridges."

For 2009, he says, the Bush Administration's proposed budget includes cuts to more than 100 federal programs in Oregon, including funding for low-income housing, utility assistance and community development grants.

The state-by-state breakdown is available online at
www.nationalpriorities.org

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR