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Analysis – Ryan Budget Would Cost Big For WV

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Thursday, March 28, 2013   

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - An in-depth analysis of the budget recently passed by Republicans in the U.S House shows it would shift huge costs to West Virginia state programs and taxpayers. At a time when the legislature is already wresting with shortfalls in key health and education programs, the budget authored by Congressman Paul Ryan would cut billions of federal dollars now coming to West Virginia.

Ted Boettner, executive director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, said it would mean slashed state programs or increased taxes - or both.

"If the Ryan budget passed, the state would have to make up the difference for those cuts," Boettner said. "They could either raise taxes or let the cuts happen, which will hurt our children's future and our ability to produce good-paying jobs."

The new report outlining the impact of the Ryan budget comes from the national Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Supporters argue the Ryan plan is necessary to reduce the federal deficit. Boettner pointed out it also includes big tax cuts for the wealthy, paid for by shifting costs to the states.

"Ryan's budget's a radical plan. West Virginia could lose $1.8 billion over the next decade, including cuts to education, housing, public health, workforce training and public safety," he warned.

One of the report authors is Michael Leachman, director of state fiscal research for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He said the Ryan plan would reverse a very cost-effective expansion of Medicaid, and on top of that, slash the program by nearly one-third after 10 years. That would not save money, he said, but would only add to the states' burden.

"The funding levels would fall farther behind state needs each year," Leachman said. "Medicaid's already a lean program; it costs much less per beneficiary than private insurance does."

Another big cost shift would come in public education, where states have already cut back because of the recession, Leachman added.

"States would have to further reduce their spending on k-12, or come up with their own money, or some combination of both of those things," he said.

The Ryan cuts would come on top of belt-tightening already put in place by Congress and the White House, at a time when the deficit is falling.

The report is available from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities at www.goo.gl/vlq2J.




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