Bush Budget Would Trim Community Policing
|By Larry Margasak, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush's budget plan would reduce spending for community police, water projects and other programs popular with lawmakers as well as broad programs ranging from environmental protection to agriculture.
Sixty-five government programs, 38 of them education-related, would be eliminated for a saving of $4.9 billion. Spending cuts would be sought in 63 others in the budget plan unveiled Monday.
"In some cases we say mission accomplished, in some cases it is duplicative of other programs we have in place, especially when we have new and better programs, and in some cases ... the program is not showing the results," said the White House budget director, Joshua Bolten.
Since taking office, Bush has tried to cut the Clinton-era program to put 100,000 police officers on the streets, saying it did not conclusively reduce crime. Congress keeps rejecting the reduction.
Now, the administration has an additional argument, contending the Community Oriented Policing Services program has met its goal with 118,500 officers hired. The budget plan would cut the program from $481.9 million to $97 million, with the remaining money going for training and other law enforcement programs.
The plan to cut U.S. Corps of Engineers water project construction, from $1.7 billion to $1.4 billion, is politically sensitive, too. Lawmakers use the projects to demonstrate their clout in Washington.
The Environmental Protection Agency's 8.9 percent decrease overall included a $492 million reduction in low-interest loans to states and communities for clean water pollution control projects. Funding would drop from $1.3 billion to $850 million.
Another $335 million cut would come from allocations to local governments, to improve wastewater, storm water and drinking water facilities. Last year's budget provided $429 million.
The reduction in the clean water loan program would hurt much-needed efforts to replace aging facilities, said Adam Krantz, a spokesman for the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies, which represents publicly owned sewage treatment plants.
"It's precisely the wrong message, when states and communities are facing budget crunches and heightened security needs, to propose these kinds of cuts," he said.
The Agriculture Department's budget would reduce rural development programs from $2.45 billion to $2.21 billion, while conservation funds would drop from $1.03 billion to $908 million.
For the Energy Department, the administration proposes spending $502 million - 22 percent less than last year - for research into the long-term health and environmental consequences of energy use and development. That includes programs for global climate change; air, land and marine environments; and biological effects of radiation.
The administration's ambitious plans to return Americans to the moon as early as 2015, and eventually send a mission to Mars, would cut space agency spending for earth science, aeronautics and education.
The Education Department would realize a $1.4 billion saving from elimination of 38 programs, including those focused on alcohol abuse, the arts, dropout prevention, school counselors, smaller learning communities, school reform, and school leadership.
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