Revised February 28, 2005

OMB BASELINE ASSUMPTIONS LEAD TO UNDERSTATEMENT OF
CUTS TO HOUSING ASSISTANCE

View Related Reports:
http://www.cbpp.org/2-15-05bud.htm
http://www.cbpp.org/2-9-05bud.htm

 

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Backup documents provided to Congress indicate that, under the Administration's plan, in 2010 programs within the housing assistance budget category Subfunction 604 would be cut by 10.1 percent below the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) “baseline.”[1]  This category includes housing vouchers, public housing assistance, the HOME block grant, programs to serve homeless persons as well as to provide new housing to seniors and persons with disabilities, and several programs administered by the Rural Housing Service in the Department of Agriculture.

But OMB makes three assumptions that cause the baseline for Subfunction 604 to be artificially low.  Because the administration’s proposed funding levels for housing programs are compared with this artificially low baseline level, the resulting cuts are understated.  If the baseline were adjusted to remove these assumptions, then the proposed cut in housing assistance programs would be 19.3 percent in 2010.  The three OMB assumptions are as follows:

Housing Assistance (Subfunction 604) Funding Path in President’s  Budget Compared with Adjusted and Unadjusted Baselines, 2010
(billions of dollars)

 

OMB proposed funding levels

$29.6

 

 

OMB discretionary baseline:

 

  Unadjusted baseline (from OMB)

$33.0

  Adjusted baseline (from CBPP)

$36.7

Total Adjustment

$3.7

 

 

Reductions from unadjusted baseline:

 

  Dollar reductions

-$3.3

  Percent reductions

-10.1%

 

 

Reductions from adjusted baseline:

 

  Dollar reductions

-$7.1

  Percent reductions

-19.3%

 

 

In order to correct for these assumptions, in the following table we adjust the OMB baseline by assuming that no prior-year funds will be counted against Section 8 in 2010, by including the CBO level of funding for the first-time renewal of multi-year contracts, and by removing the one-time anomaly in public housing funding.  These adjustments add $3.7 billion to the Subfunction 604 baseline in 2010.
 


End Notes

[1] See Ruth Carlitz, “Domestic Discretionary Funding Levels for 2006-2010, Detailed Data,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, February 15, 2005,  http://www.cbpp.org/2-15-05bud.htm, for explanation of how projected cuts were calculated.