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$1.5-Trillion Budget Calls for Cuts in Taxes, Defense Outlay : Spending: Funding is static for most domestic programs in President's fiscal plan. Administration promises that the package would produce economic recovery by midyear.

January 30, 1992|JAMES RISEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

On energy programs, Bush renewed his controversial request to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling. He requested $650 million for the superconducting super collider, a 34% increase for a program that Congress deeply slashed last year.

Law Enforcement

An emphasis on combatting violent crime and locking up drug traffickers dominated budgetary requests for law enforcement.

The FBI, in response to the end of the Cold War, plans to shift 185 counterespionage agents to fighting violent crime, particularly by gangs; another 65 former spy-chasers and domestic terrorism agents would investigate health care fraud.

The hard-line tone of the Administration's request for $15.8 billion in anti-crime funds--8% more than fiscal 1992--comes as no surprise in an election year, but Justice Department officials offered new plans for fighting crime and paying the costs.

One proposal would generate $48.4 million by requiring federal prisoners to pay for their first year behind bars. The amount was based on an estimate that 9% of the roughly 30,000 inmates entering federal prisons annually could come up with $17,911--the average cost of a year's imprisonment.

AIDS Funding

Total federal outlays for AIDS would increase by $565 million, or 13%, to $4.9 billion. That includes a proposed 4% boost for AIDS research, from $1.19 billion this year to $1.24 billion in 1993. AIDS research funding would be second only to cancer research, which would receive $2.04 billion.

Plans to map the human genome, the genetic pattern that determines the inherited characteristics of each individual, would be supported by a 7% increase, to $175 million. The project is expected to take 15 years and is believed to hold promise for the treatment of inherited disease.

Housing

President Bush's request for $23.7 billion in authorized funding for the Housing and Urban Development Department represents a $1-billion decrease from last year, but it includes sharp increases for several innovative programs favored by HUD Secretary Jack Kemp.

The largest increase would go to the Homeownership and Opportunity for People Everywhere program to help public housing tenants buy their own homes. Kemp sought $865 million for the program last year, received $350 million and is asking for $1 billion for fiscal 1993.

Another Kemp proposal would let more than 1.3 million low-income families use the rental subsidies they now receive to help buy and maintain a first home. A new reform dubbed "Perestroika for Public Housing" would give tenants at the 23 most mismanaged public housing authorities across the country the right either to choose new managers for their projects or assume ownership and management responsibilities themselves.

Few of the proposals are likely to go far in Congress, however, where Democrats have criticized them for failing to address a chronic low-income housing shortage.

Transportation

The President proposed spending $2.2 billion less on urban mass transit than the $5.2 billion authorized by Congress in the transportation bill approved last year.

Transportation Department officials said the difference stems from the Administration's continuing opposition to the use of federal transit funds to subsidize the operating expenses of bus or rail systems in metropolitan areas with populations of more than 500,000.

The Administration's position has prompted sharp criticism from urban officials, who say they need the subsidies to avoid raising fares and losing riders.

Overall, Bush called for spending $36.6 billion on transportation, including money for highway, bridge and safety programs, urban mass transit, railroads, aviation, the Coast Guard and research. The total represents a 6.3% increase over the figure appropriated by Congress for fiscal 1992.

About $22 billion would be parceled out directly to states and local governments to help pay for construction and maintenance of roads and bridges and for capital improvements for bus and rail systems. The direct aid to states has been touted by the Administration as a way to create jobs and improve the economy.

Although Congress had approved spending at least $45 million on a pilot project to develop a high-speed, magnetically levitated train, the Administration set aside only $15 million to study the feasibility of the project.

Foreign Aid

The President requested about $11.5 billion in economic assistance, a 4% increase from the request for this year, and $4.5 billion for military assistance, an 11% reduction.

Most of the increase represents funds that would flow to the republics of the former Soviet Union. Military aid was cut to almost all countries except Israel and Egypt, which were promised continuing assistance as part of the Camp David accords in 1978.

The total includes $6.3 billion in aid to individual countries and $5.2 billion for multilateral programs, such as regional development banks and refugee assistance.

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