On Monday, President Obama released his Budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2016. The proposal calls for $4 trillion in spending in FY 2016, including $75 billion in new spending on both defense and non-defense programs. The President has also proposed almost $1 trillion in new taxes over the next decade. The proposal was widely criticized by Congressional Republicans, who are strongly opposed to both new spending and increased taxes.
The following bullet points highlight key provisions of the President’s proposal of interest to RCRC member counties:
Federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes: The President’s budget would propose to fund the “Payments in Lieu of Taxes” program at its full authorized amount of $452 million. The administration acknowledges the need to find to a long-term solution to the funding mechanism of the program but does not provide any suggestions.
Secure Rural Schools and Self-Determination Act: The Budget includes $197 million in mandatory funding for Secure Rural Schools.
Wildfire Funding: The President’s budget again proposed to move 30% of the ten year average of wildfire suppression costs to the emergency disaster funding cap, a funding mechanism within the Federal Emergency Management Administration that helps the federal government respond to and mitigate the effects of natural disasters. Originally proposed in the Administration’s FY2015 budget, the disaster cap adjustment would allow for the protection of other fire and non-fire programs from “fire-borrowing.”
Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill: The President proposes a $478 billion, six-year reauthorization of the surface transportation bill funded through a one-time mandatory repatriation tax on corporate foreign profits. The proposal includes $317 billion for highways, $115 billion for transit, $28.6 billion for passenger rail, and $7.5 billion for TIGER Grants. The Administration will release its full legislative proposal for transportation reauthorization in the coming weeks.
New Infrastructure Bonds: The Budget creates America Fast Forward Bonds, which build on the successful Build America Bonds program of taxable bonds. It also creates the new tax-exempt Qualified Public Infrastructure Bonds, which will help states and local communities to attract new sources of capital for infrastructure investment projects.
Climate Resilience Initiatives: The President proposed $616 million in support of his Climate Resilience Initiatives. This funding would include $400 million to support flood mapping and risk analysis activities, $200 million in Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grants, $10 million for analyses of climate change impacts on infrastructure critical to national and economic security, and $6 million for FEMA climate workshops and regional resilience coordination.
Land and Water Conservation Fund: The President’s budget proposes a permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million.