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Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney Proposes Cutting Education Spending

Last week Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney released his Plan for a Stronger Middle Class, which lays out his plan for increasing jobs and wages. In it, he proposes giving people greater access to affordable and effective higher education options, and focusing job training programs on skills that align with employment opportunities.

However, Governor Romney’s plan also indicates that as President he would immediately reduce non-defense discretionary spending by five percent. A five percent cut to the Department of Education’s discretionary spending would result in a reduction of $3.4 billion (based on FY12 discretionary appropriations).

The plan also calls for capping federal spending below 20 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Currently, total federal spending in FY12 is 23.4 percent of GDP. To reduce federal spending to 20 percent of GDP would require an aggregate cut of nine percent per year for the next decade. But since Governor Romney opposes cutting defense spending, as well as cutting Social Security for those 55 and over, that would actually result in cuts of between 29 and 40 percent for remaining programs over the next 10 years, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. And remember, these potential cuts to non-defense discretionary programs (like education) would be in addition to the cuts and spending caps currently required by the Budget Control Act.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

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