A first look at the president's budget proposal for 2015

Posted by mmcmullan on 03/04/2014

President Obama has released his proposed 2015 budget. And while most of it will be ignored on Capitol Hill, it’s important nonetheless; these budgets tell you where the president’s priorities lie, and it tells you in cold, hard cash. The Washington Post has a neat little graphic that shows as much:

Also of note: This budget mentions “manufacturing” about 70 times (thanks, CTRL-F function!). That’s good. And it seems to be particularly focused on “advanced manufacturing.” That’s bad, according to voters (they’re not fond of the phrase). But what does it do in terms of actually funded policy?

Let’s run through a few of the highlights.

Workforce development

The president’s budget likes workforce development programs. It endorses a government-wide reorganization of STEM education programs, and proposes a “Community College Job-Driven Training Fund” through the Department of Labor that would offer competitive grants to schools and employers to create job-training programs. Yes, yes. We like. What else?

Infrastructure investment

The proposal calls for the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank (the White House should get with Bill Clinton, who has some interesting ideas on how to fund one). It also suggests the following:

To spur economic growth and allow States and locali­ties to initiate sound multi-year investments, the budget includes a four-year, $302 billion surface transportation reauthorization pro­posal.

The highway bill. Thar she blows. The president previewed this proposal recently, and the total amount of funding is a significant (and necessary) expansion of funding in the last bill that was passed, as a lot of the country’s critical infrastructure needs fixing (with American-made material, naturally). But how will that expansion be paid for? By rearranging funds through … wait for it …

Tax reform

Congress will lead the way on any attempt at reforming the tax code, but don’t forget, this budget is a blueprint for presidential priorities. Here’s what the White House suggests:

The transition to a reformed business tax system will generate one-time, temporary revenue, for example from addressing the $1-2 trillion of untaxed foreign earnings that U.S. companies have accumulated overseas. The Budget proposes to use the one-time savings generated from transitioning to the new business tax system to fill the Highway Trust Fund shortfall and pay for the four-year transportation reau­thorization proposal included in the Budget.

It also suggests cutting the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, and holding the tax rate on manufacturers to no more than 25 percent. No matter how it shakes out, we don't think tax reform should put the squeeze on manufacturing.

So there you have it: a cursory glance at the president’s 2015 budget. There’s plenty of stuff we like. It remains to be seen, now, how much of it will become law.

PS: You can find the entire budget here.

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