Taxpayer's Tab: Obama's State of the Union Address Would Cost $40 Billion

Vol. 5 Issue 4, January 30, 2014

Obama's State of the Union Address Would Cost $40 Billion


Barack Obama's 2014 State of the Union Address was one of his longest so far, and the price tag for all those words would add $39.995 billion a year to the deficit, according to National Taxpayers Union Foundation's (NTUF's) 14th line-by-line cost analysis of the President's speech.

"Even though the President largely reiterated or reframed issues that have long been on his party's current agenda, the proposals for new federal expenditures he outlined last night would still add up to a hefty price tag," said NTUF Director of Research Demian Brady. "Moreover, his push for new mandates, regulation, and tax hikes, particularly on energy, will give taxpayers and business owners plenty to be wary of."

NTUF's key findings on the President's fiscal proposals:

  • The President only proposed one item that could be determined to reduce spending to go with 12 proposals to increase outlays and 16 with costs that could not be quantified.
  • The most expensive single item President Obama called for was immigration reform. The latest legislation passed by the Democratically controlled Senate, the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act", would cost $20.2 billion annually.
  • The second most expensive proposal was further extending unemployment insurance at $12.8 billion a year, through the "Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2013." His Pre-K proposal comes in at $3.5 billion, his third most costly item.
  • The majority of the President's 29 fiscal agenda items cost under a billion dollars, or their cost could not be determined at this time.
  • For example his community college proposal would have an estimated $547 million annual cost; expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit: $414 million annually (through budget effects of "refundable" payments); putting people to work building fueling stations: $274 million annually.
  • The most noteworthy of his other proposals would be the "transportation and waterways bills" he urged Congress to complete. The current version of the "Water Resources Development Act" would cost $692 million per year. Whether he supports additional transportation legislation is not clear, and could represent another potentially significant cost.

Barack Obama's speech last year was his most expensive at $83.4 billion -- the record for any President remains Bill Clinton's $327 billion State of the Union in 1999.


NTUF's study calculates the cost of each item in the State of the Union Address in terms of its impact on federal outlays only.

Brady noted that although the NTUF study does not account for revenue impacts, the President's call for heavier tax burdens, especially on the energy sector, would adversely affect taxpayers as well. "In coming weeks the White House will put a finer point on both its tax and spending plans with the release of the Fiscal Year 2015 budget," he concluded. "How sharply this point will hit is on the minds of many taxpayers right now."

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Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act

Issue 2 - Jan 16
Building and Repairing Infrastructure with Domestic Gains in Employment (BRIDGE) Act

Issue 1 - Jan 10
Congress Already Revisiting Its Recently Passed Budget Deal

Issue 43 - Dec 19
Where Could Congress Cut Spending?

Issue 42 - Dec 6
Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act

About NTUF

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation is a research and educational organization dedicated solely to helping citizens of all generations understand how tax policies, spending programs, and regulations at all levels affect them now and in the future. Through NTUF's timely information, analysis, and commentary, we're empowering citizens to actively engage in the fiscal policy debate and hold public officials accountable every day.

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