Texas Republicans criticize Obama's budget plan

McClatchy NewspapersFebruary 14, 2012 

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's $3.8 trillion budget for fiscal year 2013 drew immediate rebukes from Texas Republican lawmakers for its price tag and higher fees and taxes, including more than $40 billion on oil and gas producers.

"The president's budget is a broken record that keeps repeating the words: 'too much,'" said U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis. "Just like the previous three years, it spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much.

"The numbers are staggering: $47 trillion in spending -- a net increase over current levels -- and a $1.9 trillion tax increase on American families, money that will be used to fuel more government spending, not pay down the debt."

U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, said that he was "disappointed" in the spending levels. "I was looking for at least an honest effort after all the fighting last summer," he said. "It's disappointing, to say the least. I had hoped to see an across-the-board cut of 7 percent. Something like that needs to happen."

Democrats generally defended the president's proposal, saying it deals with most priority issues and looks out for middle-class Americans.

On the energy front, the budget proposes repealing eight different tax breaks, including the expensing of intangible drilling costs, and the enhanced oil recovery and marginal wells credits.

"The Obama administration's proposed budget seeks to impose $41 billion in job-crushing taxes on the oil and natural gas industry over the next decade," said Independent Petroleum Association of America Chairman Virginia "Gigi" Lazenby.

The president's budget has little chance of moving forward in a divided Congress but represents a starting point for lawmakers looking to set budget priorities and make cuts.

Obama's budget includes investments important to North Texas -- airports and high-speed rail.

However, the budget proposal points out that despite an increase in airport grants, there will be an emphasis on grants to smaller airports with the administration cutting grants to mid- and large-size airports by $926 million.

The Obama budget also supports $4 billion to develop high-speed rail projects, with corridors on the drawing board including a Texas "T-bone" line from San Antonio to Dallas-Fort Worth that splits with service from Fort Worth to Tulsa and another line from Dallas to Little Rock.

But the spending plans did not win over the president's critics, including U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who said, "The president's plan fails to right the ship and will continue to lead us down a path of more debt, higher taxes and runaway spending."

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