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State of Union Speech's Annual "Price Tag" Drops to Record Low of $12.8 Billion, Study Finds
For Immediate Release February 3, 2005
(Alexandria, VA) -- By repeating many proposals from his 2004 speech and avoiding costly new ones, last night President Bush called for $12.8 billion in additional yearly federal spending -- the smallest increase among the six 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 President Bush's announcement of over 150 program eliminations, reductions, and consolidations was not evaluated in the analysis due to a lack of specificity. Brady also noted that the President's Social Security reform proposals could "lead to much less pressure on future federal spending owing to a reduction in long-term benefit liabilities." However, this fiscal impact was beyond the scope of the study's methodology.
"George W. Bush's stated intention of cutting the estimated federal deficit in half by the end of his term will be difficult to achieve without serious spending reductions on top of those he said would be forthcoming in the 2006 budget," Brady concluded. "As this data shows, however, at least the platform he outlined in last night's speech won't place that ambitious goal much further out of reach. Whether Congress will be a help or a hindrance in this effort remains to be seen."
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.