Nonpartisan Group: Trump’s Defense Spending Could Impact TN’s Budget

The Defense Department is the only major federal agency that has never completed an audit. (US Army/Flickr)

The Trump administration’s $54 billion proposed hike in military spending could come at a cost to states such as Tennessee, according to a budget research group.
The National Priorities Project notes the United States already spends more on defense than the next seven largest military budgets in the world combined.
Money that now goes to domestic spending and foreign aid would pay for the increased military budget. And Lindsay Koshgarian, the National Priorities Project’s research director, points out states would be huge losers if those cuts take place.
“States get, on average, about 30 percent of their budgets from the federal government, and this is about a 10 percent cut to domestic spending,” she explains. “You can definitely expect that to trickle down to the state.”
Gov. Bill Haslam unveiled his budget for the state at the end of January. It includes no new state debt for the second straight year, but also at this point doesn’t account for any decreases in federal funding.
Koshgarian says many states such as Tennessee already are dealing with budget demands, and further cuts will only make those deficits larger.
“We can expect to see that in things like education and local maintenance of roads and things that cities and states primarily take care of, but a lot of federal funding helps to shore those things up,” she states.
Democrats in Congress are particularly set against cuts to domestic spending, and there is opposition to some of Trump’s proposals among some Republicans as well.
And Koshgarian notes another obstacle to the president’s plan. Under the 2011 Budget Control Act, any increase in defense spending must be matched by an increase in domestic spending.
“That is in law right now, and it would take 60 members of the Senate in order to change that law,” she points out.
Trump has said he won’t ask for cuts to Social Security, Medicare, veterans’ benefits or law enforcement.