The Federal Budget and Spending on Children
From: "Changing The Way We Think About Prevention"
4 August 2008
The Urban Institute, in partnership with the New America Foundation and with support from First Focus and The Annie E. Casey Foundation, has released a new report entitled Kids’ Share 2008: How Children Fare in the Federal Budget.
The report looks at federal spending trends and tax policies that impact children and families, and finds that domestic spending on children in 2008 is unfortunately continuing to follow a downward trend. According to the report’s data, while federal expenditures overall continue to grow, the portion of domestic spending focused on children has steadily decreased over the last five decades, dropping a total of 22% since 1960.
This report further supports the findings of Children’s Budget 2008, a publication released in April by First Focus which showed that since 2003, only one penny of every new non-defense dollar spent by the federal government has gone towards children’s programs.
In what he hopes will be a step towards reversing this trend of declining investment in children, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the Children’s Budget Act (S. 3277) on July 16th. The bill would require the President to include in the Administration’s annual budget submitted to Congress a separate analysis of all spending on children’s programs, including a detailed breakdown of spending by agency, department, and initiative as well as an estimate of the portion of overall domestic spending being allocated to children’s programs.
Advocates of the legislation have noted that the law currently governing the requirements for the Administration’s annual budget request already includes similar specific instructions for other spending areas, such as a mandate requiring a separate analysis of homeland security spending, which means that implementing the Children’s Budget Act would be a simple addition to the law.
“We need to prioritize our children and currently that is simply not the case,” said Senator Menendez. “If we get a complete picture of how we spend on our children’s programs today, then we can work to ensure we are not shortchanging the vulnerable members of our society tomorrow.”
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