Trump budget proposal cuts programs used by hundreds of thousands in Utah

Posted at 5:54 PM, May 23, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY -- President Donald Trump's first budget unveiled Tuesday proposes steep cuts to social safety net programs used by hundreds of thousands of Utahns, according to critics.

Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, presented the plan differently, saying they will simply not raise the budget for many of the social safety net programs over ten years.

"We're no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs, but by the number of people we help get off of those programs," said Mulvaney.

Mulvaney said Washington should work like "real life" where you don't say a budget is cut if it doesn't increase from one year to the next.

Government planners typically project inflation and population growth into budgets, meaning a budget that does not increase is said to be cut relative to the costs and needs a program faces.

Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program provide insurance to more than 308 thousand Utahns. The Budget would cut more than 800 billion dollars nationally from the program. Those cuts might hit Utah recipients less because Utah never expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, helps 220 thousand Utahns buy food at grocery stores. The president's plan suggests cutting about 25 percent of the program's budget over 10 years.

And the Social Security Disability Program, or SSI, would lose about 5 percent of its budget over ten years. About 28 thousand blind and disabled Utahns get support from SSI.

Chase Thomas with the Alliance for a Better Utah, said the budget priorities are upside down.

"This is taking away from the poor to give to the rich," said Thomas.