Trump budget priorities include infrastructure, border security

Budget director warns interest rates may 'spike' on deficit

Budget director warns interest rates may 'spike' on deficit

The $200 billion infrastructure plan that President Donald Trump is to unveil Monday as part of his proposed 2019 budget would, as expected, force NY and New Jersey to scramble for private investors to fund the Gateway transit program.

And he said if local governments do engage in the Trump plan, it could result in an even heavier tax burden on residents in NY and other high-tax states where many taxpayers likely will pay more federal taxes because they can deduct only $10,000 in state and local taxes from their federal returns.

Trump will meet with state and local officials including the governors of Wisconsin, Louisiana, Virginia and ME on Monday, before meeting with congressional leaders on Wednesday.

"For every decision that needs to be made, find the agency that has the best expertise in terms of making that decision, give them the authority to make that decision, and then have other agencies partner with them and execute on that decision that's been made", as a senior White House official put it.

The first is that the country has been under-investing in infrastructure, leading a state of growing disrepair.

Last year, Trump's budget projected a slight surplus after a decade, but critics said it relied on an enormous accounting gimmick - double counting a 10-year, $2 trillion surge in revenues from the economic benefits of "tax reform". He also will ask for a $13 billion increase over two years for opioid prevention, treatment and long-term recovery. Transit agencies generally count on the federal government for half the cost of major construction projects, and federal dollars can make up as much as 80 percent of some highway projects.

That's a radical departure from the way many projects are funded now. Congress has rejected raising federal fuel taxes to pay for the Highway Trust Fund, for instance. This program would flip that funding burden.


The 2019 budget that President Trump will send to Congress Monday will attempt to "bend the trajectory down" on trillion-dollar budget deficits - even after Trump agreed to eliminate the spending caps in a budget deal last week, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Sunday. "So we are going to show how you can run the government without spending all of that". Another $20 billion will go to "transformative programs", or infrastructure projects rooted in promoting new or innovative ideas.

The second piece of the infrastructure proposal is streamlining what the White House calls a "broken permit process"-a byzantine system of duplicative and lengthy studies that seemed created to impede, rather than approve, federally-funded infrastructure projects". These would be "projects that can lift the American spirit, that are the next-century-type of infrastructure as opposed to just rebuilding what we have now". The final $10 billion will go towards a "capital financing fund" that will fund office-building infrastructure the federal government is already building. In light of this budget deal, the administration is proposing an investment of $18 billion in that time period to construct a border wall, the White House said. That includes funding cuts to existing federal transit programs, the TIGER grant program "and things where the administration thinks that infrastructure funds haven't been spent efficaciously", said a senior administration official.

In a preview of the 2019 budget, the White House on Sunday focused on Trump's $1.5 trillion plan for the nation's crumbling infrastructure.

This plan is one of the president's biggest campaign promises.

It comes as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle continue to question exactly where that money will come from. Signatories included the National Governors Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

Congress has until March 5 to provide a legislative solution that helps people who came to the US illegally when they were children and have benefited from the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

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