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High Stakes for Maine in Competing Versions of Federal Budget

PHOTO: A new National Priorities Project analysis finds the Obama budget does a better job than House and Senate proposals to fund programs Americans say they most care about in recent polls. Credit: White House Photo.
PHOTO: A new National Priorities Project analysis finds the Obama budget does a better job than House and Senate proposals to fund programs Americans say they most care about in recent polls. Credit: White House Photo.
March 23, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine - A new analysis sizes-up proposed national budgets from the House, Senate and Obama administration, and examines what those competing budgets mean for Maine and the nation.

Lindsay Koshgarian is the research director for the New England-based National Priorities Project. She says the severe cuts proposed in the House and Senate versions would have drastic effects in Maine, which depends heavily on federal dollars.

"Maine got $3 billion from the federal government, which is 35 percent of its total revenue," says Koshgarian. "It includes $2 billion in public assistance for programs like Medicaid, over $250 million for transportation and over $280 million for education."

While the House proposes cutting domestic spending by $759 billion and the Senate by $236 billion over the next 10 years, Koshgarian says the Obama administration would increase domestic spending by $178 billion over the decade.

Koshgarian says the differences between the budget proposals are stark, and their analysis is that the Obama administration budget does more to address the priorities voiced by the majority of Americans in recent polling.

"Americans consistently prioritize jobs, the economy, education and safety and the treatment of those priorities in terms of federal spending and where they fall just couldn't be more different," Koshgarian says.

The Competing Visions Report notes that the Congressional Progressive Caucus proposes the most significant funding levels for programs Americans say they value in the poll. The Caucus consists of one Senator and 75 members of the House. It proposed spending $1.5 trillion over 10 years above current levels in domestic investment.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - ME