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Commentaries and editorials

State Projects Would Take Hit
Under Bush's Spending Plan

by Alicia Mundy
Seattle Times, February 5, 2008

... budget would take $32 million from the $67 million Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery program.

WASHINGTON - If President Bush's proposed federal budget is approved as submitted Monday, many state health, education and environmental projects could face cuts.

The Seattle area alone could lose more than $50 million in federal support, according to staff analysts from members of the state's congressional delegation.

The state's Democratic members of Congress vowed to oppose the reductions, and lawmakers are expected to make substantial changes to the spending plan.

Many of the proposed cuts, including the elimination of the Urban Indian Health Program, are the same ones Bush has proposed in the past, only to see them restored by Congress.

"This is a shell game," said Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, a senior member on the House Ways and Means Committee. "The president wants us to add to the deficit by putting these things back in, and we have to call him on it."

Bush's $3.1 trillion budget for 2009 would boost defense and homeland-security spending while reducing spending at the Justice Department, for agriculture and environmental programs, and in health and human services.

It would cut $1.01 billion from the combined Interior and Environmental Protection Agency accounts, including $19 million for Puget Sound cleanup.

Forest Service funding, which Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Bremerton, chairman of the House Appropriations Interior subcommittee, was able to increase last year, would be reduced by 16 percent.

Bush's new budget would remove $408 million from the Forest Service, and would reduce funding to maintain trails and close old logging and mining roads in national parks.

The budget would take $32 million from the $67 million Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery program.

Other proposed cuts include about $30 million from cleanup of nuclear waste at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Eastern Washington.

The budget would eliminate $302 million nationally for pediatric training, costing Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center in Seattle about $8.86 million.

The Housing and Urban Development program that has helped renovate public-housing projects in Seattle would be terminated, and Social Services Block Grants would be cut by a third.

For the fourth year in a row, the entire $35 million budget for the Urban Indian Health Program would be eliminated. That includes more than $3.5 million for the Seattle medical clinic run by the city's Indian Health Board.

The administration foresees about $8 billion in revenue gains for the U.S. government for 2010.

But that would come from opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, a move that Bush has pushed for several years, despite opposition from a majority in Congress.

Alicia Mundy
State Projects Would Take Hit Under Bush's Spending Plan
Seattle Times, February 5, 2008

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