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President Trump Releases “Skinny” Budget, Proposes Cuts to Major Local Programs

March 30, 2017
President Donald Trump recently released his Administration’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 “Skinny Budget” blueprint.
This initial proposal provides top-level concepts. The blueprint does not address tax policy or mandatory spending nor does it include revenue projections or larger policy statements. The proposal only includes dollar-for-dollar offsets. It is important to note that this budget is merely an initial proposal. Congress must ratify these proposals and have expressed bipartisan concerns for the major cuts proposed by the Administration.

Days before the budget was released, League Executive Director Carolyn Coleman and the League’s officers took part in the National League of Cities’ congressional advocacy conference where they met with top congressional leaders and Trump Administration officials in the nation’s capital. The League’s concerns regarding the importance of these programs were not lost on the Administration. During a meeting with White House Department of Intergovernmental Affairs Deputy Director Billy Kirkland, he acknowledged the real world positive impacts these programs have on cities large and small and was open to working with the League and cities across the country on solutions. Moving forward, League leaders will partner with cities across the country as well as other state municipal leagues to ensure the proposed funding cuts do not become law.
“Having a strong and unified voice in Washington D.C. will continue to be of vital importance moving forward,” said Coleman. “We will work with the Administration, our congressional delegation, and our federal and state counterparts to ensure that our most important priorities are top of mind and preserved.”
Many programs were not explicitly mentioned in this proposal, but those which have a direct impact on cities are detailed below. Again it is important to note that these are proposed cuts.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • Requests $40.7 billion in funding for HUD, a $6.2 billion or 13.2 percent decrease from the FY 2017 continuing resolution (CR) level.
  • Eliminates funding for the Community Development Block Grant program ($3 billion in savings from the FY 2017 CR level).
  • Eliminates funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, Choice Neighborhoods, and the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program (totaling $1.1 billion in savings).
  • Eliminates funding for Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing ($35 million in savings).
Note: According to the administration, these programs are better suited for state and local budgets and implementation.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Includes $2.3 billion for the State Revolving Funds, a $4 million increase over the 2017 annualized CR level, and $20 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program, equal to FY 2017 CR levels.
  • Reduces Categorical Grants (states receive funds to implement water, air, waste, pesticides, and toxic substances programs) to $597 million, a decrease of $482 million in funding. 
Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • Requests $16.2 billion for DOT, a $2.4 billion (13 percent) decrease from 2017.
  • Limits funding for the New Starts program to only projects with existing full funding grant agreements.
  • Eliminates $499 million in funding for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants. 
Department of Justice (DOJ)
  • Requests $47.7 billion, a $1.1 billion (3.8 percent) decrease from 2017.
  • Requests a $175 million increase to support law enforcement targeting criminal organizations and drug traffickers.
  • Asks for $171 million above the 2017 level for additional short-term detention space for federal detainee but proposes funding cuts to reimburse state and local governments for costs of incarcerating undocumented immigrants. 
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  • Requests $44.1 billion, a $2.8 billion (6.8 percent) increase from 2017.
  • Requests $1.5 billion for enhancing cybersecurity programs that protect federal networks and critical infrastructure.
  • Eliminates $667 million from state and local agencies grant funding, including FEMA grant programs.

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