Washington, D.C. — U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D-Savannah) released the following statement in response to President Bush’s FY09 budget proposal:
“President Bush’s budget creates deficits of more than $400 billion for this year and the next,” Barrow said. “By the time the President leaves office, he will have added $4 trillion to the national debt. That’s a huge tax burden on our kids, and it’s unacceptable to those of us who are committed to fiscal discipline.”
The Congressional Budget Office’s economic forecast indicates that the 2008 deficit is already $56 billion greater than the deficit for 2007. That figure doesn’t include the cost of a stimulus package or additional funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Taking these costs into account, the 2008 deficit could exceed $400 billion.
Under President Bush’s FY09 budget, Georgia would lose millions in critical funding for families, farmers, ports, police and firefighters, according to Barrow. For example:
• The president’s budget request for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not include the first year construction funding for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. The budget calls for only $700,000 for preliminary engineering and design work for the project, but includes no funding for construction. Georgia's deepwater ports support over 286,000 employees throughout the state and account for $24.8 billion in gross state product (6 percent of Georgia's total GSP).
• The president’s budget eliminates formula funding for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (JAG), which provide funding to state and local law enforcement agencies for crime prevention, law enforcement, prosecution, drug treatment, corrections (prisons), and performance improvement. Georgia would receive $5,030,000 less for these programs than it did in FY08.
• The president’s budget eliminates funding for the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program.
• The President’s budget completely eliminates SCAAP funding. SCAAP was created in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to reimburse state and local governments for the costs of arrest, incarceration and transportation of criminal aliens (PL 103-322). Georgia received $2.85 million for SCAAP funding in 2007.
• The president’s budget cuts Assistance to Firefighters Grants by $465 million below the level needed to maintain current services, providing only $300 million for 2009. Fire grants help local fire departments obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards. Georgia would receive $8.41 million less for these programs than it did in FY08.
• The president’s budget cuts discretionary funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant by $41 million below the level needed to maintain current services. CCDBG helps low-income families pay for child care, and provides critical safety regulation for all child care facilities. Georgia would receive $1.59 million less for these programs that it did in FY08.
In addition to these programs, which represent only a small portion of the total federal budget, President Bush’s proposal would entirely eliminate the Community Oriented Policing Services program for 2009, cut $556 billion from Medicare over 10 years and impose $5.2 billion in new fees on veterans over the next 10 years.