On February 5, President Bush released a $2.9 trillion fiscal year (FY) 2008 budget request that eliminates or sharply reduces 141 programs. While the Administration requests a sharp increase in defense spending, it significantly reduces entitlement spending to meet the goal of balancing the budget by 2012.
Despite the extremely tight fiscal environment, where many programs are experiencing cuts in funding, the President’s request for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is $226,182,000, an increase of $15,585,000 over FY 2006 and an even bigger increase than LSTA would have received for FY 2007 if Congress had completed FY 2007 appropriations bills.
Within that total is $171,500,000 for Grants to State Library Agencies. This funding level will allow full implementation of a 2003 law to provide a more equitable distribution of state formula grants. In 2003, all of the states and Congress agreed that the base should be doubled to help even the playing field for the small states while ensuring that large states don’t face an undue burden to achieve that.
Also included: $26,500,000 for the Librarians for the 21st Century program, $12,930,000 for National Leadership Grants for Libraries, and $3,675,000 for Improving Library Service to Native Americans.
For school libraries, the President requested level funding for the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program.
The President requested $109,541,000 for the Government Printing Office. Within GPO, the bill includes $45,613,000 for the Superintendent of Documents.
We will continue to provide information as we review the budget documents. This includes the budget for EPA libraries, for which we await word from the EPA.
Given the budget difficulties, members are urged to contact the White House to thank the Administration for its continued support and commitment to our nation’s libraries. You may call the White House at 202-456-1111.
For more information, please visit ALA Washington Office’s website.