Monday, February 13, 2012

President's budget would deeply cut farm subsidies and end Saturday mail but boost road work

Today is "budget day" in Washington as President Obama sends his 2013 budget proposal to the U.S. Senate. In an election year and a poisonously partisan atmosphere, the budget is probably dead on arrival, but it stands as a basic policy document around which debate can revolve, and this one makes at least three specific recommendations that would greatly affect rural areas.

Obama's proposal would funnel billions in "war savings" back into domestic projects, including an almost 50 percent increase in transportation spending over six years, reports David Rogers of Politico. This increase would likely allow repairs to deteriorating bridges in rural areas and help with safety upgrades for pedestrians and bicyclers on dangerous rural roads.

Rogers also reports the budget would cut farm subsidies "deeper than the House and Senate Agriculture Committees have proposed thus far." Jarad Favole and Damian Paletta of The Wall Street Journal report the budget calls for a five-day-a-week postal delivery schedule, which follows the U.S. Postal Service's recommendation to stop Saturday delivery in an attempt to curb the agency's deficits. Obama has adopted the recommendation before.

The Obama administration has a "fact sheet" on rural aspects of the budget.

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