By KATY PARRISH

Ever wonder how teachers and police get paid or how roads and parks are taken care of? Every year, the U.S. government decides how to spend the money it receives from tax dollars paid by your parents and businesses. How do you decide how to spend your money? What if you — like the government — were working with trillions of dollars?

The first step the government takes in deciding where our tax money goes begins with the president who makes suggestions for a budget. He does this before the first Monday in February. For 2008, President Bush wants to spend more money on the military. He also plans to cut money for many programs for special needs children and services for the poor.

Many people in Congress don’t agree with the president and are trying to come up with suggestions for ways to stop these cuts. Over the next six months many Congressional committees will meet to figure out how to get their ideas accepted by the president.

The final budget for 2008 must be approved before October 1, 2007. If you were in charge, how would you spend the government’s money?

Do you think how the budget is divided is fair? Send your suggestions to your senators or member of Congress. You can find out who your representatives are by going to: www.congress.org

budgetpiechrt
Pie chart courtesy: National Priorities Project

A Breakdown of Spending:

Military = 28.5%

Health = 20.2%

Interest on the Debt = 18.7%

Other = 11.6%

Job Training = .3%

Environment = 1.4%

Housing = 2.0%

Nutrition = 2.7%

Veteran’s Benefits = 5.5%

Education = 4.1%

Income Security = 6.6%