States News Service, February 4, 2004
Copyright 2004 States News Service
States News Service
February 4, 2004 Wednesday
HEADLINE: REP. GREEN COMMENTS ON RELEASE OF ADMINISTRATION'S 2005 BUDGET
BYLINE: States News Service
The office of Rep. Mark Green, R-Wis., issued the following press release:
Rep. Gene Green (D-Houston) found the President's budget for 2005 a failure, not meeting the real needs of the people of this nation and Houston. After reading through the proposed budget, Green gave the following comments:
"The budget fails to create jobs, and instead creates a $521 billion deficit - the highest deficit in history. It shortchanges education, health care and veterans' benefits," said Green. "Instead of helping working families in Houston, it provides $1 trillion in additional tax breaks for those who need them least."
"The Administrations proposals will have a great impact on many of Houston's federally funded programs. The Port of Houston will not receive funding for security needs, Harris County flood control projects will suffer, and programs which help community health centers are also on the chopping block," added Green.
The following is a summary of how the Administrations budget will impact Houston:
* The Budget provides only $10 million for the Community Access Program, down from $104 million in FY04. Houston has used its CAP grant to help secure funds for additional federally qualified community health centers, to reduce over-use of the Emergency Room, and to improve coordination among health care providers for the uninsured.
* The mere 2.7 percent increase at the National Institutes of Health will seriously undermine biomedical research efforts and slow the momentum at Houston's premiere research facilities, including MD Andersen Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Hospital, and other academic research institutions.
* The Department of Homeland Security budget increased 10%, but the Bush budget provides no federal funds for entities like the Port of Houston Authority (PHA) to meet federal port security requirements. The Port of Houston Authority estimates it has $38 million in security needs, expenses for which federal reimbursement is necessary.
* The budget cuts $600 million in federal flood control funding from 2004 levels ($4.6 to $4.0 billion). The Sims Bayou project, which is almost complete, is named as a high priority project, whereas other Harris County flood control projects suffer unless Congress sets its own priorities. Two projects in the design stage to reduce Houston-area flooding, the Halls Bayou and the Hunting Bayou projects, have been authorized and funded in prior years, but are zeroed out by the Bush budget. In addition, while the Administration provides the required amount to deepen and wide the Houston Ship Channel, the budget only provides half ($13 out of $26 million) of what is necessary to operate and maintain the Houston Ship Channel.
* The bill also slices federal vocational and adult education funding by 35 percent, from $2.1 billion to $1.4 billion. Grants to local educational agencies were cut by almost 5 percent, from $14.0 billion to $13.3 billion, and Pell Grants were cut by 78 percent, from $10.2 billion to $2.3 billion.