President’s Budget Proposal: What it means to the Valley

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Photo: MGN Online

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – President Barack Obama unveiled his 2016 budget proposal Monday morning.¬†Obviously, it would have to clear Congress, and it won’t survive as is.

Still it’s important to know the starting points for negotiations. Let’s highlight some of the biggest aspects for the Tennessee Valley.

We start with education. The president’s budget proposal focuses in on pre-k classes. That’s big, because our governor has also emphasized the importance of growing them. If state money meets federal, we could see that happen even more rapidly.

Keep turning pages, and you’ll find defense. Here’s the most pivotal part for the Valley. The budget proposal calls for $561 billion in discretionary defense spending. That’s a $38 billion dollar increase from sequestration levels.

That includes some raises for military pay. We see a 1.3 increase in basic pay, a 1.5 percent increase in housing allowances, and a 3.4 percent increase for subsistence allowance.

However, the proposal does call for some cuts to match. We do see a specific reference to improving “commissary operational efficiencies.” Commissaries have been targeted before for cuts, to great uproar.

One more important efficiency that comes up: a new round of BRAC. The proposal reinforces the goal of cutting major headquarters’ operating budgets by 20 percent.

Another big change comes in cybersecurity. You’ll find it has its own point under national security, right next to Isis and Russia.

They notice at Huntsville’s nLogic.

nLogic CEO Tim Thornton notes, “Virtually all the programs that we support have some sort of cybersecurity aspect to them.”

He’s seen cyber security grow first hand, “For a few years, we were waiting for cybersecurity funding to make its way into the DOD, but there are certainly a lot more opportunities for a company like ours to bid on in the last couple years.”

The budget proposal would allocate $14 billion for cyber security. But it would also beef up the government’s web presences across the board as well, showing why cybersecurity continues to spread. It’s at least one of the reason’s why nLogic has an award for fast growth on their shelf.

Thornton tells us, “Our company recently, as of last week, won another contract with the United States Department of Agriculture doing information technology support.”

As we go digital, our security efforts have to follow.

Again, all of this just serves as starting points for debates that could dramatically change the way these budgets get implemented.

You can find the full fact sheet on the budget proposal here, and the proposal itself here.