Clinton’s Budget Impact on Texas Maintain $50 million for wastewater projects along U.S.-Mexico border in support of North American Free Trade Agreement Increase DOE natural gas R&D Increase NASA spending on new tech nologies and support of space industry Fund new severe weather detection equipment in Fort Worth and Lubbock Increase funding for INS detection and deportation activities in Port Isabel and El Paso Increase funding for INS inspections in Harlingen, El Paso, and San Antonio Increase urban transit formula grants for McAllen/Edinburg/Mission \($0.3 milIncrease rural formula capital grants by $2 million Increase transit grants for elderly and disabled by $0.5 million Increase State Revolving Fund funding for drinking water improvements in 1994 by $28 million Increase water and wastewater loans by $8 million and grants by $6 million Increase federal aid to highways by $163 million Increase business and industry loan guarantees by $23 million Increase community facility direct loans by $10 million Increase watershed restoration grant funding for 1994 by $0.7 million. Increase funding for single-family housing direct loans by $12 million Increase Head Start meals program funding in 1994 by $9 million Increase funding for rental assistance grants and vouchers Increase funding for intermediary relending program Increase Child Care Development Block Grant funding Provide permanent extension of lowincome housing tax credits with $22 million in 1994 ‘ Double 1994 HOME housing funding for Texas to $121 million Increase AIDS funding through Ryan White Act and imposing spending caps, Stern warns, Clinton will emerge with the worst of both worlds: No economic stimulus \(for fear of recalls, the formula that led to the recent glorious unemployment of G.H.W. Bush. Stern thinks that any putative dichotomy between stimulus now and productivity later is false: An additional $30 to $40 billion on the deficit for the next two years will be enough, he says, to stimulate the economy through infrastructure spending that would result in sustainable future productivity increases. Christopher Cook, communications director for the Texas AFL-CIO in Austin, said the labor federation is strongly against the President’s BTU tax as it affects oil and chemical workers, but that the economic program is fine. Organized labor favors economic stimulus, will accept deficit reduction and finds the most significant portion of the President’s program its focus on investment, jobs, training and transition from defense to non-defense jobs. “We’d like to see not only movement toward non-defense industry,” says Cook, “but a reasonable transition that helps the people affected, and we haven’t seen that yet and aren’t sure exactly how it will work. Is a guy from Dallas/Fort Worth who lost his job going to have to move to Laredo for a new one? That’s not worked out yet.” Cook perceives a maddening parallel: “The political grounds are always shifting. It used to be the Texas House was trouble while the Texas Senate was reliable [from the labor point of view.] Now we finally have a Texas House we can at least work with, only to have the Senate go intransigent. Same thing on the national front. We finally get a Democratic President with some interest in working folks but as soon as we get that, then [Congress’] little princes ofidarkness are trying to get it all their way. Everybody seems to think that because Clinton was moving to the center, now they have to become even more conservative. Some of [these nominal Congressional Democrats] already belonged in the Republicans’ [column], and now some of them are even more conservative than some Republicans.” Congressman John Bryant of Dallas says; “Clinton’s budget affects Texas just like it does everybody else. This is the first budget in 10 years that calls for a dramatic reduction in the deficit. It’s $500 billion below what the deficit would have been. It shifts the tax burden back toward the wealthy who increased their share of wealth and decreased their share of taxes during the 1980s. I don’t see a unique effect on Texas: The budget preserves the major public works projects in our state, the space station and the supercollider as well as a whole variety of other things. Fundamentally the Republicans don’t believe government should do anything other than the army, and maybe highways. They’re opposed to almost all government functions, so anything that is done that doesn’t clearly further reduce government’s role in the economy they’re opposed to. Republicans just do not want to contribute the taxes to do anything. “Perot’s recent TV chart showed the deficit going up after five or six years as though that were some big secret, whereas the President himself talked about that during the campaign and it’s no surprise to anybody. You have to get control of health care to prevent the deficit from coming back in five or six years. But immediate spending caps will allow us to postpone facing the need to reform the health care system. If you protect against the growth in health care costs with an arbitrary cap on Medicare and Medicaid spending, you introduce gross inequities into the health care system. And you shift the cost to middle-class and elderly Americans and away from the wealthy.. The short-term bang for the buck from the President’s budget will be that the financial markets will see a real deficit reduction program that has been passed by a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President. The result will be low interest rates and investor confidence.” Some kind of budget will pass. Probably this week or next and Texas progressives need to keep their eyes on how their Congressmen and Senators vote. If Congress passes a reasonable facsimile of Clinton’s original intentions, we may have finally forced the Republicans and their Wall Street, media and country club allies to recognize that actual Democrats won the election. If the Republicans and fallen-away Dems manage to sabotage the budget, we can look for a recurring replay of the gridlock theme until the mid-term elections of 1994. There is also talk of changing the rules in the Senate to require only 51 votes, instead of 60, to break a filibuster. If the budget passes only after severe mutilation, look for the Democrats to attempt removing the filibuster weapon from the Republican armory. It only takes 51 votes to change the rules. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13 . f.eriN111″44.10..04.114 .9.”0″kete , ‘
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