Coincidence? FY 2016 Budget Released on Groundhog Day
The president’s proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2016 was released on February 2, 2015. Apropos of its Groundhog Day release, the document repeats many recommendations from previous budgets, including new grant set-asides, the expanded use of competitive grants, program expansions, new bonding programs, and a host of tax increases and decreases.
While the budget purports to retain the spending caps established in the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), it exceeds BCA post-sequestration spending levels. In addition, it proposes to eliminate sequestration of mandatory programs. That said, its tax cuts and spending increases are fully offset by tax increases and other savings. Overall, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget reports that the budget would provide $930 billion in additional deficit reduction over the next 10 years, compared to current law.
Table 1 at the end of this Budget Brief summarizes proposed funding levels for major state and local grant programs. The table shows that funding would increase 13.1% for the discretionary programs listed, 9.7% for mandatory programs, and 10.7% overall. Much of the discretionary increase is attributable to large proposed increases in transportation funding.
The follows sections focus on policy proposals beyond the changes in funding that are listed in Table 1.