WASHINGTON -- The federal budget deficit dropped to $203 billion in fiscal 1994, which ended Sept. 30, President Clinton announced yesterday while campaigning in Cleveland.
Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen noted in a subsequent statement that this fiscal year's figure is $52 billion less than the fiscal 1993 shortfall of $255 billion, which was $35 billion less than the all-time high of $290 billion reached in fiscal 1992.
"This is the largest two-year drop in the deficit in U.S. history, and it's $100 billion less than the 1994 deficit forecast when we took office," Bentsen said.
According to figures issued by the Congressional Budget Office, fiscal 1993 and 1994 represent the first back-to-back decline in the government's annual deficit since 1974, when it fell to $6.1 billion, after falling to $14.9 billion in 1973 from $23.4 billion in the previous year.
Bentsen credited the Clinton Administration's five-year deficit reduction plan enacted last year and robust economic growth for the declining annual deficit. "We're spending less on unemployment benefits. We've cut programs, and the growing economy means more revenues," he said.
Bentsen predicted that the deficit would fall again this year. The administration's midsession budget review, released in mid-July, projected a $167 billion deficit in fiscal 1995, followed by gradually rising deficits.
The government's complete September budget statement is due to be released Friday.