February 22, 2005

Salmon Recovery, Ineel Priorities Reflected in Budget Resolution

Crapo notes budget resolution brings surplus back within ten years

Washington, DC â?? Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, serving his first term on the Senate Budget Committee, scored several important victories for Idahoans as the budget resolution is introduced in the U.S. Senate. Under Crapoâ??s leadership, the Committee has upped the congressional budget request for nuclear research and development, directed more money be made available for salmon recovery efforts, and included a much-needed increase in PILT funding. Under the resolution completed by the committee, the federal government is projected to a budget surplus within ten years.Crapo said, â??Weâ??ve been very successful in getting Idahoâ??s priorities built into this budget, but on a broader scale, this budget faces very difficult problems regarding deficit spending. The economy has collapsed and federal spending has skyrocketed, particularly in our national security and homeland defense arenas. As a result of that, we are facing serious deficits. So, while we are making sure that Idahoâ??s priorities are met in this budget resolution, we are also trying to build a pathway back to a balanced budget. The resolution we have adopted today starts us back in the direction of surplus.â??The budget resolution adopted late yesterday by the Committee provides the congressional blueprint for the budget. The funding guidelines provided in the resolution must be approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee as well as authorizing committees before the budget is considered complete. The Appropriations Committee will make the final decisions about how the money is spent.In negotiating with other members of the Budget Committee, Crapo was able to increase salmon recovery funding on two fronts. First, the funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was increased by $60 million over 2003. The Committee report accompanying the budget resolution puts a priority on fully funding salmon recovery within the NOAA budget. As the budget process continues to unfold, Crapo will continue working to ensure that additional funds provided for salmon recovery in the NOAA budget are directed to Idaho through the Pacific Coastal Recovery Fund.The Committee has added $50 million above the Presidentâ??s request for the Energy Supply category, with report language noting the priority of using this money for Nuclear Research and Development. Funding from this category is expected to benefit the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratoryâ??s Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative.Many rural Idaho counties, which contain large amounts of public lands which are not taxed, rely on PILT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) funding for public education. The Committee has increased PILT funding above the Presidentâ??s request by $200 million. Under the Presidentâ??s proposed budget, Impact Aid funding sustained substantial cuts. The Senate Budget Committee has recommended holding funding steady at current levels, while adding $1 billion for special education and another $1 billion for Title I.Funding for wildland fire efforts has been increased by $400 million over the Presidentâ??s request. Also, the Committee chose to continue the Manufacturing Exterior Partnership Program, which the President proposed cutting. The MEP program provides federal funds for TechHelp, Idahoâ??s manufacturing extension center which serves Idaho businesses through four field offices.Once passed by the Senate, the budget resolution sets the funding framework for all the other Senate committees regarding appropriations. The resolution will be introduced on the Senate Floor on Monday, March 17. Debate on the resolution will be carried live on C-Span II.# # #