Ala. lawmakers not happy with President’s proposed budgetPublished 11:00pm Thursday, April 11, 2013
Sixty-five days after deadline, President Barack Obama’s budget proposal was released and Alabama lawmakers aren’t pleased with his plan.
“The good news is that President Obama has finally released his budget. The bad news is that it’s 65 days late and $744 billion short of balance. One thing is clear: President Obama is still on a mission to raise taxes,” said U.S. Rep. Martha Roby. “His budget proposal calls for $1 trillion in new taxes, and that’s on top of the more than $600 billion he got in January.”
Obama’s budget proposal includes a mix of tax increases and benefit cuts that he said is the kind of balanced approach that is necessary to tame runaway budget deficits. However, both Republicans and Democrats are now reminding the President of his campaign promises. Advocates for seniors believe Obama is breaking his promise to protect Social Security and conservatives note he is breaking his promise not to raise taxes on the middle class.
Obama’s budget proposes an increase in taxes by $1 trillion over the next 10 years. Most of the tax increases would target wealthy households and corporations, though some, including a tax increase on cigarettes, would hit low- and middle-income families, too.
The President’s plan would also cut benefit programs like Social Security and Medicare while adding new spending on infrastructure and early childhood education.
The most enveloping proposal is to adopt a new measure of inflation for the government, which would gradually reduce benefits and raise taxes at the same time. The “chained Consumer Price Index” would show a lower level of inflation than the more widely used Consumer Price Index. The change could have far-reaching effects because so many programs are adjusted each year based on year-to-year changes in consumer prices.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions said the President’s plan is full of gimmicks and underneath is simply more spending. He said spending would rise 56 percent, including a 70 percent increase in welfare and poverty spending. That will raise the debt by $8.2 trillion despite promises of a 1.8 trillion-deficit reduction, Sessions noted.
“After four years of trillion-dollar deficits, the President proposes a net spending increase of $1,025 billion above projected growth, including a $154 billion spending increase next year and a $61 billion increase this year,” Sessions said. “This is not merely reckless; it is unthinkable.”
Roby said she remains hopeful that the budget process will eventually lead to greater economic security and job growth.
““I am glad the President has begun to show some interest in addressing the future explosion of mandatory spending programs,” Roby said, “but we still have a long way to go in order to reach a sustainable path.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.