NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Budget Hikes User Fees

April 17, 1997

Some analysts believe President Clinton's proposed budget would increase government bureaucrats' power and control over the federal purse through new, continued and expanded use of user fees.

  • Revenues from user fees would go directly to a government agency where bureaucrats have control over the money, rather than to the Treasury's general fund, where Congress has control.
  • The president's proposed budget contains 15 user fees, from a "domestic icebreaking fee" to permits to dredge wetlands, charges for stockyard inspections and fees on the aviation industry.
  • Current figures show user fees cost the economy $47 billion.

In the present economic environment, many economists argue there is room for a generous middle-class tax cut -- but only if increases in government discretionary spending are contained.

  • According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the robust American economy could by itself cut the deficit by $74 billion in 1998 and by $408 billion through 2002.
  • The Clinton budget calls for an increase of $176 billion in discretionary spending -- costs in addition to the formidable challenge of controlling runaway entitlements.

Source: Robert D. Novak , "Reinforcing Bureaucracy," Washington Post, April 17, 1997.


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