Federal deficit reduction should not fall squarely on the backs of low-income and middle-class families. Yet that is exactly what happens in the budget plan approved last week by the U.S. House of Representatives.
That plan, authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, cuts critical federal funding for Pennsylvania's schools, health care, clean water, law enforcement, and other key services, while providing big new tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest individuals.
As a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows, Pennsylvania could lose an additional $9.9 billion over the next decade from the part of the federal budget that supports schools, public safety, and a range of other state and local services. The spending cut in 2014 alone is close to $1 billion.
With Pennsylvania communities and the economy still reeling from deep state budget cuts enacted over the past two years, another round of funding cuts to our schools, public safety, and health is unsustainable.
Pennsylvania and its local communities are already feeling the impact of the automatic federal cuts known as "sequestration," which began to take effect in March. Funding reductions are much larger under the Ryan budget and will likely bring funding for state and local services far below historical levels.
The plan would also come on top of deep federal funding cuts to states and local communities enacted in previous deficit reduction measures.
The result will be a major shift in costs onto state and local taxpayers. In addition to cutting grants in aid, the Ryan budget proposes cuts to Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program of nearly a third by 2023. This would almost certainly force Pennsylvania to sharply scale back or eliminate health coverage for many low-income families, seniors, and people with disabilities by restructuring and significantly reducing funding for Medicaid.
Instead of putting the load for federal deficit reduction on the backs of working families, Congress should take a balanced approach that includes new revenue, like the plan offered by Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray. This is essential to ensure that we reduce our country's deficit without harming our economy or future growth.
We have more on the Ryan budget and the new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities at our web site.