Bush's Short Laundry List Carries Lower Price Tag

President Bush presented a shorter and less expensive list of new spending proposals in this year’s State of the Union Address than either he or President Clinton has presented in any of the seven most recent State of the Union Addresses, a National Taxpayers Union analysis determined.

The NTU cautioned, however, that several of the proposals Bush made in the speech had unknowable costs that could eventually "add significantly" to the total cost of the address. For example, the President called on Congress to "reform and reauthorize the Ryan White Act … and provide new funding for states." The last time Congress did that, it added $256 million in annual federal spending. For now, NTU is scoring the cost of the President’s latest Ryan White proposal as "unknown."

Overall, NTU found 11 items in Bush’s speech that would increase spending in a quantifiable way, and two items that would reduce spending. The net result was a speech that proposed increasing federal spending by a $91 million per year. That was far less than the $12.8 billion in new spending programs Bush proposed in last year’s State of the Union, and a mere shadow of the $106.6 billion he proposed in 2002.

The NTU also said that the cost of the President’s proposed guest-worker plan was unknown and that his American Competitiveness Initiative, to fund math and science teachers and science research would cost $10 billion.