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Study: Proposals in State of Union Speech Would Boost Spending over $20 Billion, but Lack of Detail Obscures True Price Tag
(Alexandria, VA) – President Obama’s statement in yesterday evening’s State of the Union speech that “the rules have changed” will likely surprise many taxpayers hoping for more specifics on how much they’ll save – or pay – due to his fiscal policy proposals. According to a line-by-line analysis of his State of the Union speech by the non-partisan National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF), all the quantifiable items in President Obama’s speech taken together would increase federal spending by more than $20 billion, but the large number of items whose impact is unclear could dramatically affect this total.
“President Obama’s speech last night hinted at tax reform, and spending restraint, but also opened the door to tax increases and major spending initiatives,” said NTUF Senior Policy Analyst Demian Brady. “Americans heard encouraging words about more efficient government, but little in the way of specifics about spending priorities. This leaves taxpayers wondering not only whether the federal budget deficit is headed upward or downward, but also by how much.”
Among the findings of NTUF’s analysis:
“State of the Union speeches can’t possibly provide every detail on the future course of federal spending, but this year’s speech contained a high degree of ambiguity that could be masking tens – even hundreds – of billions in new liabilities, or, perhaps some additional savings,” Brady concluded. “This is why taxpayers may need to look beyond the words they heard last night and toward the numbers they’ll see in coming weeks, when the White House releases its budget blueprint.”
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 Obama’s proposals with those in the BillTally system in White House documents and other third-party sources.
NTUF is the research affiliate of the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union, a non-profit taxpayer advocacy group founded in 1969. Note: For a spreadsheet of cost estimates for Obama’s State of the Union proposals, along with analyses of past Presidential speeches, visit www.ntu.org.