President's Budget Would Devastate State Services

States are facing hard budget times this year, with twenty states facing a combined budget shortfall of at least $34 billion for 2009 -- and the President's proposed budget would not only make them worse, but would disproportionately hurt many of the most vulnerable populations in the country. 

As the Center for Budget Policy and Priorities details, under the President's budget, grants to state and local government for all programs other than Medicaid would decline by $18.9 billion or 7.4 percent from fiscal year 2008 to 2009, after adjusting for inflation. This is part of a trend as non-Medicaid grants to the states have fallen from 1.99 percent of GDP down to a proposed 1.60 percent of GDP for 2009. (See chart to the right courtesy of CBPP.) If states were receiving funding at the 2001 level as a percentage of GDP, they would have $50 billion more.  

Even as the Iraq War receives tens of billions of dollars more in the budget, some of the proposed cuts for state services are astounding in their callousness:

  • Grants to protect children from neglect and abuse, foster care, adoption, and related services for children and families through the Social Services Block Grant would see a thirty percent cut.
  • Public safety program grants from juvenile justice to community policing would be cut by two-thirds. 
  • Unbelievably, grants for homeland security, which include reductions in support for first responders, would be cut by 45 percent.

The National Priorities Project has a state-by-state breakdown on cuts in the Child Care and Development Block Grant, Community Development Block Grants, Improving Teacher Quality State Grants, Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program, Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, and Social Services Block Grants.

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