"As Mark Udall and Bob Schaffer attempt to compare and contrast each others' positions on vital fiscal policy issues, citizens may be wondering how the promises being made to them will affect the nation's finances," NTUF Senior Policy Analyst Demian Brady said. "NTUF's analysis provides the right tool for the job, and shows that nearly $50 billion separates the candidates' agendas."
In preparing the study, NTUF reviewed the candidates' campaign Web sites and news reports to find any proposals that would impact the federal budget. Cost estimates come from a variety of independent sources, including Congressional Budget Office reports and data from NTUF's BillTally cost-accounting system, which since 1991 has computed a net annual agenda for each Member of Congress based on their sponsorship of bills. Among the findings:
- Udall has offered 54 proposals that would affect federal spending - 25 of which would increase annual outlays, three of which would decrease expenditures, and 26 of which have unquantifiable fiscal effects -- for a net annual spending hike of $55.3 billion.
- Schaffer has offered 41 budget-related items -- nine of which would boost annual federal spending, three of which would cut it, and 29 of which have costs that could not be calculated - for a net annual spending hike of $5.8 billion.
- Among the proposals Udall has made with the biggest change in outlays are to close the so-called donut hole in Medicare prescription drug coverage ($29.6 billion per year), an expansion of the Children's Health Insurance Program ($7.5 billion each year), and a 10 percent increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health ($2.9 billion). He offered savings through reforming commodity subsidies (-$169 million), assisting with college financing (-$27 million), and ending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy ($-19 million).
- Schaffer's largest items consist of boosting the federal share of special education funding, which would cost $5.4 billion each year, and developing a "smart grid" U.S. electricity system, at $525 million per year. His proposals to reduce annual outlays: leasing areas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil production ($-600 million), reforming the medical liability system (-$890 million), and freezing Congressional pay (-$2 million).
The Colorado Senate race is one of several that NTUF is analyzing, including Nebraska and New Mexico. Contests were selected on factors such as geographic diversity, perceived political significance, and the specificity in the candidates' platforms. NTUF is the research arm of the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union, a nonprofit, nonpartisan citizen group founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. Note: The full candidate studies are available at www.ntu.org.