December 18, 2002

Administration Budget Would Cut Low-Income Programs During Downturn

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On December 16, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a report, Left Behind in Good Times and Bad.  The report explains that the President’s fiscal year 2003 budget would reduce funding for low-income non-entitlement programs (other than education programs) by $3 billion, or 4.6 percent, compared with the 2002 level adjusted for inflation.  Congressional appropriators, who recently agreed to observe the President’s overall appropriations limit for non-entitlement programs, may feel compelled to accept these reductions as they work out funding levels for specific programs in the weeks ahead.  As the Center’s report explains, cutting programs for low-income households amidst the economic slump would increase the hardship these families face.  It also is inconsistent with Administration calls for a new tax package to boost the sluggish economy, since many of these programs provide more economic stimulus per dollar than various tax cuts for the well-off that are under consideration.