Federal Budget Resources

The Federal Budget is a core issue area of OMB Watch. We follow federal budget and economic policy issues ranging from tax issues to government performance and beyond.

Our core issues include:

The Social Investment Initiative (SII): a two-year effort arising out of Invest in America to build a network of state and local organizations around long-term federal budget priorities; as well as other related projects.

Americans for a Fair Estate Tax (AFET): OMB Watch is very involved in the AFET coalition's efforts to fight against repeal and for a fair reform of the estate tax.

Fair Taxes for All (FTFA): a growing coalition of more than 300 national, state and local organizations, including OMB Watch, who are united in opposition to massive, irresponsible tax cuts.

Additional sub-issues include: Social Investment Initiative Budget Surpluses, Deficits and the National Debt Annual Budget Process & Appropriations Federal Tax Policy State Budget Policy Social Security Invest in America Government Performance Economic Policy Category Map

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The Estate Tax and Charitable Giving

There is little doubt that repeal of the estate tax will have a profound impact on nonprofit organizations. One way nonprofits will feel this impact is through less charitable giving. This policy analysis examines the ways in which nonprofits and foundations might be affected as well as the magnitude of the reduction in charitiable giving that might arise from a full repeal.

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Budget ZigZag

The “Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation of 2003” bill (HR 2) that President Bush signed into law with much fanfare on May 28 is chock full of tax cuts that “sunset” – that is, they revert back to pre-2003 law. When combined with the previous Bush tax cut, “The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001,” which is also full of tax cuts that slowly phase in and then end altogether, the result is like something out of Kafka. However, the difficulty for the IRS of creating forms and instructions to reflect yearly changes and taxpayer confusion are not the worst consequences of these bills.

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Tax Priorities

The 2003 tax cut package contained a number of goodies for higher income individuals -- a dividend tax cut, a capital gains tax cut, acceleration of previous reductions in upper income tax rates. However, several reports have shown that millions of taxpayers, primarily middle income and below, as well as millions of children, have been left behind.

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Garbage In, Garbage Out: Two Bad Tax Cut Bills Won't Make One Good One

Conference negotiations to reconcile the tax cuts bills passed by the House and Senate are expected to begin tomorrow, and Congress hopes to pass a tax cut bill by the Memorial Day recess, although this may prove impossible.

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Cheaper at Half the Price

According to the results of a joint NPR-Kaiser Family Foundation-Kennedy School of Government poll released last month -- and confirmed by almost every other poll on Americans' attitudes toward tax cuts - we are all in favor of tax breaks, until we understand what we have to give up in return.

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Deficits and Debt and Tax Cuts

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan doesn't think that tax cuts are needed now and warns about the danger of growing budget deficits. (See this New York Times article). Recently, the International Monetary Fund issued its economic report that advised the US against passing more tax cuts. Hundreds of economists, including a number of Nobel Laureates, oppose tax cuts. According to a number of polls, most Americans don't want more tax cuts, either.

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Congress Passes Irresponsible Budget Plan Providing for $1.3 Trillion Tax Cut

The Budget Resolution has now been passed by the House (216-211) and by the Senate (51-50, with Vice President Dick Cheney casting the tie-breaking vote). This budget is, quite possibly, one of the worst examples of the failure of our elected representatives to meet their obligation to determine tax and spending outlines that address the priorities of the American people. Read the full story here.

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Poll Shows Administration?s Priorities Are Out-of-Touch with Country?s Needs

A recent poll conducted by National Public Radio (NPR), the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Kennedy School of Government reveals much about how tax payers view current proposals to reduce taxes when compared with spending on education, Social Security, health care, and even reducing the deficit. The survey, conducted between February 5 and March 17, 2003, also revealed that many people feel they don’t know enough about various tax cut proposals to offer an opinion on them. This result is disconcerting, surely, but is also very interesting given the efforts of Treasury Secretary John Snow and other White House officials in recent months to educate Americans on the administration’s tax cut agenda through road shows across the country.

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Fool Me Once, Shame on You, Fool Me Twice?

For the second time, in as many years, the President and his tax-slashing allies in Congress have passed a budget that calls for massive tax cuts. Though the recent precedent-setting effort of congressional Republicans last week to pass a budget resolution by agreeing to different tax cut packages leaves much uncertainty about just how large a tax cut the country will be saddled with, a large tax giveaway seems assured. Within the next several weeks, we will learn whether this round of tax cuts will be limited to the Senate's $350 billion or be as high as the House's $550 billion, but this is just the beginning: the budget resolution actually provides for a total of $1.3 trillion in tax cuts over the next 10 years. Whatever is decided, the tax cuts will be far more than the country can afford. As a result, most of us, and future generations, will be stuck footing the bill for a huge expenditure that will do little, if anything, to stimulate the economy, lower the unemployment rate, close the ever-widening gaps in state budgets, meet the educational needs of our children, or address the shortfall in Social Security or pay for a prescription drug plan for our seniors.

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