Weighing priorities

By Geraldine Sealey

Published May 14, 2004 4:58PM (EDT)

The White House submitted to Congress a new request for $25 billion for the war in Iraq. (Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told lawmakers the administration would need at least $50 billion more.) The cost of the war in Iraq could top $150 billion through the next fiscal year, or three times what the White House originally estimated. Over the next decade, the war's cost could total $300 billion. All that money has to come from somewhere, and at the expense of other priorities.

The National Priorities Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group, estimates what each state will pay to fund the escalating cost of war in Iraq, and compares what each state is forking over to how much it has received for other federal programs. Ohio taxpayers, for example, have spent $5.7 billion so far on Iraq, according to the group. By comparison, Ohio will receive $2 billion in federal aid for the No Child Left Behind Act, $366.5 million for Environmental Protection Agency programs, and $574.4 million in Community Development Block Grant programs over the same three-year period covered by the war appropriations. The National Priorities Project lists the cost comparisons for every state on its Web site.

Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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