Carper Calls For Federal Government To Help States Meet Their Key Priorities Medicaid, Education, Homeland Security Aid Needed

***Carper is Past Chairman of National Governors Association***

Washington, DC -On the day that Delaware’s Governor Ruth Ann Minner made her budget address to a joint session of the state legislature, the state’s former Governor and now junior Senator Tom Carper delivered a speech from the floor of the Senate calling for more federal aid to help states through difficult budget times. Carper was disappointed that President Bush did not speak of states’ budget crises during the State of the State address. “I was disappointed in the President’s decision not to acknowledge that these were tough times for states. The state’s cumulative deficits are in the tens of billions of dollars and getting bigger – not smaller – as the year goes forward,” Carper said. “The federal government cannot burden states with unfunded mandates and simply walk away. We must meet our responsibilities.” Carper cautioned that because so many states link their tax rates to the federal rate, the President’s new tax package, if passed, would cost states billions of dollars in lost revenues. The Senator also outlined three areas where the federal government must offer assistance to states:

“When the terrorists next attack our nation, the first people called into action will not be bureaucrats in Washington. It will be the cop walking his or her beat, the paramedic on duty, and the local firefighter. They are protecting our national security and the states and local governments should have some help covering those costs,” Carper said. “We must work through our new Department of Homeland Security to fund the programs we have authorized.”
“Over 2.7 million people became unemployed in the last two years. When unemployment goes up, people lose their health care and ask to be covered under Medicaid. Now state budgets are getting killed by Medicaid costs,” Carper said. “We should make greater investments in Medicaid so people can get back on their feet as states struggle to get back on theirs.”
“The No Child Left Behind Act provides a long-needed overhaul of federal education policy, dramatically refocusing our attention and resources on raising academic achievement for every child. But it carries a cost for states,” Carper said. “The federal government must put its money where its mouth is or the call for accountability will ring hollow.”