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Tax Dollar Tracker: Despite Claims of Fiscal Responsibility, Budget Dramatically Increases Spending for Government Land Acquisition


WASHINGTON, D.C., March 3, 2011 - Today, at a House Natural Resources Committee Hearing on the Department of the Interior’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget proposal, Interior Secretary Salazar said: “The 2012 budget reflects many difficult budget choices, cutting worthy programs and advancing efforts to shrink Federal spending...by eliminating and reducing lower priority programs...”

There might be something wrong with the calculators over at the Interior Department because the President’s budget actually INCREASES spending or maintains funding levels for numerous programs that Americans simply cannot afford during these tough economic times.

For example, the President’s budget more than doubles funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), from $346.1 million in FY ’08 to $900 million in FY ’12 (see chart below). The primary purpose of the LWCF is to purchase more federal land at a time when we cannot afford to maintain the lands the government already owns. There is currently a maintenance backlog on federal lands that measures in the billions of dollars. The government has a responsibility to maintain and care for areas before acquiring more land.

“America has a debt that is costing jobs and putting future generations at risk,” said Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings. “There need to be priorities and we must question if spending more money on a program is worth further indebting ourselves and our children to foreign countries. While many proposals are worthwhile objectives, the harsh reality is that our nation is broke and we have to take an objective look at what we can truly afford.”

Where exactly are the “efforts to shrink federal spending”?

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Contact: Jill Strait, Spencer Pederson or Crystal Feldman 202-226-9019

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