Misguided Budget Cuts Proposed by House Leadership Take Aim at Programs Driving Economic Growth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 15, 2011

Smart Growth America condemns cuts to programs that make America more competitive in the global economy

Washington, DC – Leaders of the House of Representatives submitted their recommendations this week for the 2011 federal budget, including cuts to several programs that create jobs and drive economic growth. Geoffrey Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, issued the following statement in response:

“The budget proposed by the Republican House leadership takes aim at America’s middle class and attempts to balance the federal books on their backs. Many programs on the chopping block are meant to help this country’s economic recovery and cutting these programs is short-sighted and counterproductive. What’s worse, many of these cuts will take their highest toll on families and communities – precisely the people Congress should be working to help right now.

“Our leaders in Congress need to take a close look at the federal budget and cut programs that are wasteful, outdated and no longer effective in the 21st century economy. At the same time, however, Congress should protect and promote programs that help jumpstart the private sector, allow local leaders to respond to local economic needs and provide clear and effective outcomes.

“Among the cuts proposed are programs that help our rural, suburban and urban communities create more housing and transportation choices near jobs, shops and schools, and support our local economies. Programs like HUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative, which gets more economic growth out of every dollar local governments invest, as well as federal money to build infrastructure investments in small towns and big cities and support for homes citizens can afford are all under threat.

“In particular, Smart Growth America opposes the following cuts:

  • Elimination of HUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative and the proposal to rescind funds already awarded to projects. The initiative helps communities get more economic growth by spurring private sector investment, removing government barriers, and creating job growth at a time when we need it most. Rural, suburban and urban communities across the country have already been awarded grants and are moving forward with critical economic development projects; these communities will be left high and dry if this bill passes.
  • Elimination of funds for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program, which helps states and communities to prevent, assess, safely cleanup, and reuse abandoned land to strengthen local economies.
  • Elimination of funds for HUD’s HOPE VI program, which serves a vital role in HUD’s efforts to transform public housing into strong communities.
  • Restriction on funds for HUD’s Community Development Fund, including limiting the funds to Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Programs and preventing funds from going to the Sustainable Communities Initiative.
  • Rescindment of the Department of Transportation’s unobligated TIGER II funds, aimed at strengthening the economy and creating jobs, reducing gridlock and providing safe, affordable and environmentally sustainable transportation choices.

“Smart Growth America believes that these cuts will damage the forward momentum our recovering economy has already made while simultaneously hurting our ability to compete globally in a 21st century economy. Members of the House of Representatives who hope to protect the economic interests of families, communities and our country need to fight these cuts.”