Sunday, May 27, 2018
Politics

PolitiFact: States' portion of fiscal cliff cuts overstated

The statement

"If lawmakers fail to avert the fiscal cliff, 18 percent of the federal money that is sent to the states will be eliminated."

The Campaign to Fix the Debt, in a press release

The ruling

The Campaign to Fix the Debt, a corporate-backed bipartisan group pressing for federal debt reduction, sounded alarms as President Barack Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner negotiated over taxes and spending, including this claim that "if lawmakers fail to avert the fiscal cliff, 18 percent of the federal money that is sent to the states will be eliminated."

Eighteen percent — that's nearly 20 cents on every dollar.

Would the automatic, across-the-board budget cuts mandated to start in early January under the Budget Control Act of 2011 take that big a bite out of federal grants to states?

In a word: No.

Here's the background.

Fix the Debt is supported by CEOs of many major U.S. companies, and has a budget of more than $35 million raised primarily from the business world, according to stories in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Los Angeles Times. The group stresses that many ordinary citizens have joined the effort, which was co-founded nationally by former Republican U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming and Erskine Bowles, the former Clinton administration official. The pair co-chaired the Obama-created National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Fix the Debt has attracted a bipartisan roster of supporters from the ranks of elected officials and former officials.

The group referred in its news release to the Pew Center on the States, which issued a report on Nov. 15, "The Impact of the Fiscal Cliff on the States." That report relied on figures from the Federal Funds Information for States.

The report did use an 18 percent number in regard to federal grants to states for programs such as Title 1 education grants, special education, Head Start, nutrition for low-income women and children, and public housing.

But it was describing the pool of federal funds subject to some level of sequestration cuts.

Pew officials said they did not mean that the entire pool comprised of that 18 percent would be eliminated entirely, as Fix the Debt said.

In fact, Pew estimated that 7 percent of that pot of money would be eliminated, or perhaps slightly higher.

Not chump change, but a far cry from all of it.

Fix the Debt officials said they made an editing error in preparing the release, and became aware of it when we called. It will be fixed in future releases, they said.

We rate the group's claim False.

This ruling as been edited for print. For more, see PolitiFact.com.

Comments
Former President George H.W. Bush hospitalized in Maine

Former President George H.W. Bush hospitalized in Maine

BIDDEFORD, Maine — A spokesman for former President George H.W. Bush says the 93-year-old was experiencing low blood pressure and has been hospitalized. Spokesman Jim McGrath tweeted just after 2 p.m. Sunday that Bush will likely remain in the hospit...
Updated: 4 hours ago
More LGBT issues loom as justices near wedding cake decision

More LGBT issues loom as justices near wedding cake decision

WASHINGTON — A flood of lawsuits over LGBT rights is making its way through courts and will continue, no matter the outcome in the Supreme Court’s highly anticipated decision in the case of a Colorado baker who would not create a wedding cake for a s...
Published: 05/26/18
Carlton: Sometimes taxpayers pay for not doing the right thing

Carlton: Sometimes taxpayers pay for not doing the right thing

I may have cracked the code. Found a way to sell doing the right thing. Discovered a method of persuasion in certain matters of fairness, conscience and the greater good.Like giving our fellow Americans a second chance.When morality-based arguments d...
Published: 05/26/18
North Korea demolishes nuclear test site as journalists watch

North Korea demolishes nuclear test site as journalists watch

PUNGGYE-RI, North Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made good on his promise to demolish his country’s nuclear test site, which was formally closed in a series of huge explosions Thursday as a group of foreign journalists looked on. The explosi...
Published: 05/24/18
Trump violated the Constitution when he blocked his critics on Twitter, a federal judge rules

Trump violated the Constitution when he blocked his critics on Twitter, a federal judge rules

President Donald Trump’s decision to block his Twitter followers for their political views is a violation of the First Amendment, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, saying that Trump’s effort to silence his critics is not permissible under the U.S. Con...
Published: 05/23/18
All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

TAMPA — All those public watch parties during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s postseason run? And how about the rally at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square Park with the big white Lightning logo spray-painted on the grass? You need police to prote...
Published: 05/23/18
Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Explain this to me: In the world of partisan politics, how is being an independent thinker a bad thing? When it comes to general elections, we seem to like rogues and mavericks. We want outsiders and swamp scrubbers. Folks appreciate a good finger-...
Published: 05/22/18
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Published: 05/20/18
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Published: 05/20/18
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18