Fair Taxes for All Coalition

OMB Watch is a member of Fair Taxes for All (FTFA), a growing coalition united in opposition to massive, irresponsible tax cuts.

President Bush's "economic growth" plan is a tax cut for millionaires that most economists agree will not effectively stimulate our weak economy or create jobs now. The reduction in public revenue resulting from the overall Bush tax package would leave our government $2 trillion dollars poorer, at a time when many public needs must be met. The FTFA website has fact sheets on the ramifications of these proposed tax cuts on local, state, and federal revenue, as well as analyses of the tradeoffs these tax cuts force. Read more about this effort and how you or your organization can get involved.

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Federal, State, Local Budget Cuts Compounded by Shrinking Private Funds

EPI, Campaign for America’s Future and State Groups Release Reports Detailing Damage Caused by Bush Tax Cuts

Check for the report on the problems your state will face if the Bush tax cut goes through – and find out how to work to stop it.

A person can’t open a newspaper these days without catching sight of at least one article reporting on recent slashes in some local or state budget or in one of the many threads of the country’s social safety net. From coast to coast, over the course of just the last two weeks, cuts have been announced: Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski (D) announced that several million dollars will be cut this year and next from the state’s Medicaid program, which had been heralded for its success in providing mental and dental benefits, in addition to the traditional hospital care, to Oregon’s poor, elderly, and disabled residents; newly-elected Maryland Governor Bob Erhlich (R) has proposed a $25 million cut in state-funding for child care for low-income parents – this is on top of a 70% cut in funds for Maryland’s Child Care Resource Centers Network, which provides families of all income levels with guidance and information on available local child care providers.

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Estate Tax Moves to the ?Top Ten? in the Senate

With approval of the FY 2003 spending bills finally accomplished, Senate Republican leaders unveiled their legislative agenda for the 108th Congress on February 15, 2003. Permanent repeal of the estate tax made their list of top-ten legislative items. In January 2003, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) introduced a bill to accelerate full repeal (currently scheduled for one year in 2010 by the 2001 Bush tax cut) to 2005 and permanently eliminate the estate tax thereafter. Several other bills have since been introduced to make repeal permanent after 2010.

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President Signs FY 2003 Appropriations Omnibus Bill

On February 20, nearly five months after the October 1 start of federal fiscal year 2003, the President signed into law an omnibus bill providing funding for the departments and programs covered by the 11 appropriations bills that were not completed by the October 1 deadline last fall.

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Update: FY 2003 Appropriations Drawing to a Close?

As reported in today’s Washington Post, House and Senate conferees are nearing completion on negotiations over H.R. 2, the omnibus bill for the remaining 11 FY 2003 appropriations bills that were not enacted by last October 1.

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Dynamic Dysfunctions

At the start of this Congress, the Republican-led House Ways and Means Committee made the implementation of the controversial practice of “dynamic scoring” for budget decisions one of its first orders of business.

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State-by-State Analyses Show State Budget Deficits? Impact

In addition to the National Priorities Project’s handy “State of the States” reports announced in the last Watcher, there is also a new set of fact sheets from AFSCME documenting the draconian cuts states have been forced to make to contend with their 3-year cumulative budget gap of $189 billion. A one-page fact sheet looks comprehensively at the cuts used by many states to meet their own constitutions’ mandates of a balanced budget. Some of the cuts recently used by states include releasing prisoners before completion of their sentences, cuts to higher education, increases in tuition at state universities, reducing funds for community services and child support enforcement, tightening eligibility requirements for the working poor and disabled for state Medicaid health plans, raiding state rainy day funds, and layoffs. Other state-by-state analyses will be available soon, which OMB Watch will note.

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Treasury Department Warns U.S. Will Reach Debt Limit Soon

Bush Sets Record on Deficit: According to a chart released by Reuters last week, this year's $304 billion deficit that arose under the Bush Administration's watch is the largest in the last 30 years. Though many economists agree that temporary deficits at a time of a slowed economy are beneficial, most are concerned that the permanent commitment of the country's vital resources to providing permanent and costly tax cuts to the very wealthy will only create more trouble for the economy in the long-run. The Treasury Department issued a warning last week that the federal government would soon reach its current borrowing limit of $6.4 trillion, if Congressional action were not taken to raise it. As reported in the June 24 edition of the Watcher, this announcement regularly sets up a struggle between the Administration and Members of Congress, who do not want to appear to be spending beyond the government’s debt limit. As this Washington Post article points out, this most recent announcement is particularly troublesome, given that the President is also requesting a $674 billion tax cut.

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Responses to President's FY 2004 Budget Proposal

The President issued his FY 2004 budget proposal February 3, which was received with accolades by some and with great criticism by others worried that several key education, housing and environmental programs would suffer under his proposed funding levels. Included in this article are links to OMB Watch analyses, as well as the responses of other organizations and Members of Congress.

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Program Assessment And Budget Cuts Ahead

This Administration has not made reducing the size and effectiveness of government a stated goal; however, the strides that are being made to devolve responsibilities to the states and to privatize government functions, deregulate and limit government oversight, and defund government by reducing federal (and often state) revenue through huge tax cuts, make the words unnecessary. One new and potentially effective tool in this effort to delimit the role of the federal government is the “Program Assessment Rating Tool,” or “PART.”

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