Bush's proposed $2.9 trillion budget includes a record $481 billion for defense spending, a 12% increase, plus $245 billion for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here at home, Bush's budget cuts $101 billion in Medicare and Medicaid funding, and would increase premiums for many Medicare enrollees.

Following is some reaction from around the South about the budget and how it might affect states in the region...


According to the Mobile Press-Register, nearly 156,300 Alabama households benefited from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. The Bush budget cuts funding for Alabama's share of the program by nearly half, leaving state officials concerned they will not be able to meet demand.

The Alabama State Port Authorities expressed concern that the budget would fund only about half of the $400 million authorized by Congress for port security. The Corps of Engineers will receive more funding to maintain Mobile Harbor, a slight cut in funding for the Warrior-Tombigbeee waterway, and a slight increase in funding for Cosa-Alabama waterway, according to the article.


The Arkansas News Bureau says the Bush budget provides little benefit to rural Arkansas.

Citing general concerns regarding cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, increased defense spending, and making tax cuts permanent, Sen. Mark Pryor said "The cost of the war is going up, and we're just going to have to decide whether we as a nation can afford to cut our taxes while we're at war and looking at pretty serious budget cuts for rural Americans."

The Corps of Engineers will get $17.3 million in funding to upgrade the Jeta Taylor Powerhouse near Ozark. According to the article, it is one of 69 "national priority" projects identified by the Corps. Arkansas may also benefit from $194.2 million in funding for "operations and maintenance of waterways in Arkansas and seven neighboring states."


The Bradenton Herald reports that the budget includes $56 million for repairing Lake Okeechobee dikes, $4.5 million for dredging the Miami River, and $9 million to replace aging South Florida air traffic control towers.

According to the article, there is also continued funding for restoring the Everglades, but environmentalists say it isn't enough. The budget includes a $1.7 million increase in the Everglades National park operations budget and up to $162 million in the Corps of Engineers budget for restoration projects.

NOAA will receive $14.6 million in funding for new hurricane tracking technology and additional weather buoys to monitor hurricanes. The budget also includes $45 million for veterans hospitals in Orlando and Lee County plus $639 million in grants for school programs.

The Orlando Sentinel reports general concern about cuts in Medicare, which has three million enrollees in Florida, and cuts to the State Children's Health Insurance Program. According to the article, Florida has "one of the largest such programs in the country." A $300 million cut in transportation funding could also threaten a $520 million commuter rail project in Central Florida.

The Gainesville Sun says that increases in NASA's budget may not be enough to fund development of a new manned spacecraft, which could "hasten the departure of skilled engineers and scientists and the Kennedy Space Center and other sites."


According to Access North Georgia, state officials there are very concerned about the cuts in the State Children's Health Insurance Program. According to the article, Georgia's program is has 273,000 participants and is already $131 million short of needed funding. Any further cutbacks could result in Georgia being "the first state to run out of money" for the program.


According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Bush's budget proposes $351 million for chemical weapons disposal at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County, which is $54 million more than originally requested. Sen. Mitch McConnel (R-KY) said the Pentagon upped the amount at his request.

The article also says the Army Corps of Engineers will receive $52 million for work on the Kentucky Lock project, $104 million for the Olmstead Locks & Dam, $45 million for McAlpine Locks, and $54.1 million for Wolf Creek Dam repairs.

Other funding for Kentucky includes $116 million for cleanup at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion plant, $196 million in education funding, and $49.8 million for school breakfast programs.

The Louisville Courier-Journal says the budget will boost Kentucky's highway funding by $93 million to $565 million. The community development block grant program, however, would be cut from $48 million to $34.4 million. Also, social-services block grants are cut from $23.9 million to $16.9 million, and Homeland Security funding is cut from $11.3 million to $4.3 million.

According to the article, Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson says "it's a plan that cuts everything from funds for police officers and firefighters to housing and community development" and it's "180 degrees from what leaders of America's cities told lawmakers and administration leaders when they were in town just a couple weeks ago."


The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports a number of concerns, first and foremost being the lack of specific funding for Katrina recovery.

Gov. Blanco and Sen. Landrieu both expressed concerns about shifting $1.3 billion in Corps of Engineers funding for New Orleans levee repairs to other projects. According to the article, the budget "zeros out" funding for the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Program, leaving "no money available for some planned canal improvement work" and no new funding "for closing the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet or for proposed St. Bernard and St. Charles parish flood-control work."

Citing the rising crime problems in New Orleans, Louisiana Democrats also criticized Bush's proposal to cut from $541 million to $34 million a program that funds hiring additional police.

According to the article, Rep. William Jefferson also said that "proposed cuts in Medicaid and Medicare over five years will be particularly problematic to Louisiana at a 'time we're trying to get our health-care facilities back up' after all the damage from Katrina and Hurricane Rita."


The Jackson Clarion-Ledger says that Mississippi would benefit from a proposed $168 million expansion of the Strategic Petroleum Reserves, defense spending that includes $3.4 billion for two DDG 1000 Navy destroyers being built at the Ingalls Shipyard, and $788 million in Homeland Security funding for work being done on the Coast Guard's Deepwater fleet upgrade program at Pascagoula.

According to the article, Mississippi will also get $7 million for a new tower at the Gulfport-Biloxi airport, and $50 million more for school breakfast programs. But, up to 80,000 Mississippi Delta farmers making more than $200,000 could lose federal farm subsidies. Cuts to the heating assistance program will also reduce the state's share from $14.3 million to $10.0 million and federal child support enforcement grants will be cut by $2 million.

North Carolina

The Raleigh-Durham News & Observer says that North Carolina's State Children's Health Insurance Program is $17 million short and could be affected by cuts in the program, but that proposed changes in eligibility would "not directly affect North Carolina."

Increased funding for the National Park Service will fund an 11% increase of $1.5 million for the Blue Ridge Parkway operating budget. Another budget proposal that allows the sale of up to $800 million in public lands could affect the Pisgah, Uwharrie, Natahala, and Coatan National Forests.

The article also says there is no funding for beach restoration projects requested by coastal counties, and no funding for dredging the Wilmington Harbor, and only partial funding for dredging the Intracoastal Waterway.


The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory will receive $967 million in funding, which includes $900 million for nuclear weapons development and additional security. Other projects being funded include ORNL's work on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Fusion Reactor in Europe, the Spallation Neutron Source project, and development of high-performance computer systems.

According to the this News Sentinel article, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will receive an $1.89 million increase in funding, the largest ever. A proposed $100 million per year increase in National Park System funding over the next ten years, along with "private funding", could provide up to $3 billion for the national park system to address maintenance backlogs, which are $180 million in the Great Smoky Mountains.

The Nashville Tennessean says that Bush's proposed increase in troop strength, specifically $6.2 billion budgeted for 3,000 additional special forces, could mean more soldiers stationed at Fort Campbell. Fort Campbell is on the border between Kentucky and Tennessee near Clarksville TN.


The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Virginia will benefit from $220 million in education grants, $45.3 million for school breakfast programs, $94 million in State Children's Health Insurance Program funding, and $5.1 billion for building Navy submarines and a new class of aircraft carriers.

West Virginia

The Huntington News says that "Medicare cuts would endanger West Virginia's 351,000 Medicare beneficiaries' access to quality care and impose a new tax on seniors."

There are also concerns about West Virginia's Children's Health Insurance Program, which has already been cut by $10 million since 2003. State officials fear that further cuts proposed in Bush's budget will "undermine a program critical to raising healthy and economically secure children and risk adding to the ranks of West Virginia's nearly 36,000 uninsured kids."

The article also says that the budget freezes $6.4 million in funding for college work study programs and eliminates $4.9 million in Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants at a time when tuition at West Virginia University increased 38% in the past four years.