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State of Union Speech's Annual "Price Tag" Sinks to Record-Low $91 Million, Study Finds
For Immediate Release February 1, 2006
(Alexandria, VA) -- By putting a dollar figure on his proposed program savings to go along with new funding promises, last night President Bush called for a net total increase in the yearly federal budget of just $91 million -- the smallest amount among the seven most recent State of the Union addresses, according to a line-by-line analysis released today by the non-partisan National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF). Among the findings:
NTUF Senior Policy Analyst Demian Brady, who conducted the study, noted that several of the "cost unknown" items could add significantly to the net total spending increase Bush proposed last night. For example, the President asked Congress to "reform and reauthorize the Ryan White Act ... and provide new funding to states ...." The last reauthorization of this bill raised spending by $256 million annually, but it appears that Bush's calls for "reform" as well as "new funding to states" for AIDS care could cost a considerable (but indeterminable) amount.
"By offsetting nearly all of his proposed new program expenditures with cuts elsewhere, George W. Bush may just have given Congressional appropriators a starting point for their own plans to fight the federal budget deficit," Brady concluded. "Given that House Members in the last Congress proposed the equivalent of almost 45 dollars in spending hikes for every dollar in reductions, many taxpayers are probably hoping that lawmakers will try harder this year to match the President's feat."
Since 1991, NTUF has tracked the fiscal impact of proposed legislation through BillTally, an accounting database that reports the "net annual agenda cost" for each Member of Congress based on sponsorships and cosponsorships of pending legislation. For this analysis, NTUF matched Bush's proposals with those in the BillTally system and in White House documents.
NTUF is the research affiliate of the 350,000-member National Taxpayers Union, a non-profit citizen group founded in 1969. Note: A chart of the costs of President Bush's State of the Union proposals and a graphic comparison to previous speeches are available at www.ntu.org.