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National Priorities Project

Top Four Things You Need to Know About Obama's FY2016 Budget Proposal

Copies of President Barack Obama’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget pictured on Capitol Hill February 2, 2015. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

President Obama's budget proposal for fiscal year 2016 contains many initiatives that would be widely popular with the American people based on opinion polling. Our research team has analyzed the numbers in Obama's $4 trillion budget and provided a report on what his proposal means for key popular priorities. Here are the top four things you need to know (plus a few bonus items): 


Six in 10 Americans believe wealthy individuals and corporations don't pay their fair share in taxes. (Gallup) 

  • The proposal would raise an additional $208 billion over 10 years from wealthy taxpayers by increasing the tax rate on capital gains and closing the "trust fund loophole."
  • A new fee on corporate financial institutions would raise $112 billion over 10 years.
  • Increased tax revenues would be used to fund increased spending on defense and non-defense, as well as additional deficit reduction over the next ten years.


67 percent of Americans say that improving the education system is a top priority. (Pew Research Center)

  • The proposal would increase education funding by five percent over 2015 levels, to $70.7 billion.
  • $60 billion over 10 years would support students to attend community college for free.
  • The president calls for $66 billion for his signature Preschool for All initiative, plus new funding of $1 billion for the Title I program and $1.5 billion for Head Start.

Social Security:


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Two in three Americans believe making the Social Security system sound is a top priority. (Pew Research Center)

  • Contradicting a rule proposed by House lawmakers in January, Obama's budget would ensure continued viability of the Social Security Disability Insurance program.
  • The proposal would increase funding for Social Security by as much as $10 billion per year by closing loopholes that allow wealthy individuals to avoid paying Medicare and Social Security payroll taxes.

Climate Change:

74 percent of Americans say the federal government should be doing a substantial amount to combat climate change. (New York Times)

  • The budget proposal would invest $7.4 billion in clean energy technologies, an area that received significant cuts in 2015.
  • It would also provide $4 billion over 10 years for a Clean Power State Incentive Fund to help states exceed planned reductions in carbon emissions.

Other notable elements of the president's proposal include:

  • A Department of Defense base budget of $534 billion, the highest in history, plus an additional $51 billion war funding.
  • $478 billion in infrastructure improvements to roads and bridges.
  • An annual budget deficit of $474 billion, down from $538 billion in 2015, plus plans to achieve $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years.

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Robin Claremont

Robin is the Director of Development & Communications at the National Priorities Project, which she joined with more than a decade's worth of experience in non-profit fundraising, strategic communications, and marketing. Previously, Robin was Development & Communications Manager at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and also spent several years at the Environmental Leadership Program, managing its national fellowship program and organizational outreach. Robin has been a foundation relations and communications consultant for other non-profits and serves on the Board of Advisors of Gardening the Community. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Studies from Mount Holyoke College. Contact her at

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