Herseth: Budget process needs reform

Herseth: Budget process needs reform
Rep. Stephanie Herseth (D-SD) has no problem considering budgetary scale-backs of some government programs to help save costs.

She is bothered, however, when middle- and lower-income individuals � such as a great number of her South Dakota constituents � end up bearing the financial burden of those cuts.

"We have to be intellectually honest here, and recognize that many of the tax cuts that middle-income Americans received in the tax cut packages of 2001 and 2003 have already been realized," she said in a conference call last week.

The Bush Administration, Herseth said, is trying to expedite new tax cuts for corporations and wealthy Americans.

"They're not touching those," she said, as the Administration considers what should be pared from the new federal budget. "We're saying, ?Can't we at least have them on the table to evaluate whether or not we can even afford all of that, given how times have changed since 2001 and 2003?"

A more honest budget process is needed, Herseth said.

"It would be easier for members of Congress like me, and the 434 others who are up for election next November," she said, "to explain why we made the decisions we did on both the spending and the revenue side if we reformed the budget process."

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