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President’s Proposed Budget would Eliminate CDBG, HOME; Cuts Other “Safety Net” Programs

Cities Encouraged to Communicate Concerns to Congress

May 26, 2017
President Donald Trump Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget was released on Tuesday.
Titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” the proposal states that its defining ambition is to “unleash the dreams of the American people,” with aggressive proposals aimed at balancing the federal budget, paying down the national debt, reducing taxes and regulatory burdens and reprioritizing federal spending. Increases are proposed in defense, homeland security, veteran’s assistance and to support a new six-week parental leave program to be offset by eliminating many domestic programs that assist cities and their residents.
While individuals can differ over national debates over how to boost the nation’s economy and reduce debt, the list of proposed cuts and elimination of programs important to cities in this budget (found in the budget’s Major Savings and Reforms supplement) are truly sobering. Supporting rationale given for these proposed changes include the statement that “State and local governments are better positioned to address local community and economic development needs.” 
The President’s proposed budget includes the proposed elimination and cuts to the following domestic programs:
  • Eliminates the Community Development Block Grant program.
  • Eliminates funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, Choice Neighborhoods, and the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program.
  • Eliminates the federal Housing Trust Fund and National Magnet Fund.
  • Eliminates the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business and Cooperative Service, Rural Water Waste and Disposal Program Account and Single Family Housing Direct Loans. Requires states to provide 25 percent matching funding, and retailers to pay $250 to $20,000 applications fees, for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (Food Stamps).
  • Eliminates the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Minority Business Development Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Grants and Education.
  • Eliminates several programs at the Department of Energy including the Weatherization Assistance Program.
  • Eliminates the Community Services Block Grant Program and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and reduced funding for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families by 10 percent, at the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Eliminates, at the Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration Law Enforcement Grants and the Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis Program, and five components of existing Federal Emergency Management Agency Programs, while requiring a new 25 percent local match on others.
  • Eliminates funding for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program and funding for Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Training, and the Senior Community Service Training Program, while reducing funding for the Office of Disability Policy by 30 percent and job training under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act by 39 percent, at the Department of Labor.
  • Eliminates the Green Climate Fund and the Global Climate Change Initiative under the Departments of State, UAAID and Treasury.
  • Eliminates TIGER grants, Essential Air Service, and cuts funding for New Starts and Amtrak by approximately half at the Department of Transportation.
  • Eliminates new grants to the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund at the Treasury.
  • Eliminates Energy Star and Voluntary Climate programs, while reducing funding for enforcement by 24 percent and Superfund sites by 31 percent at the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Eliminates a number of independent agencies including the Chemical Safety Board, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Legal Services Corporation, and Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation. 
The National League of Cities (NLC) has prepared a more extensive summary of cuts.
Next Steps
It is important to note that this budget is merely an initial proposal. Congress must ratify these proposals and in the days since its release many Congressional members have expressed concerns for the major cuts proposed by the Administration. It is very important, however, for California’s Congressional delegation to hear from city officials about their concerns.
NLC has an advocacy tool to help their member cities send letters to their Congressional delegation.
The League of California Cities has prepared a sample letter for cities to use. 

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