Upon the release of the President’s proposed FY 2021 budget request to Congress, SGA President & CEO Calvin Gladney issued this statement:
“It’s hard to reconcile this budget request with the administration’s rhetoric about investing more resources into small and medium-sized towns and cities. While the specific dollar figures here are worth discussing, what this budget most clearly lacks is a clear, comprehensive vision for how to transform struggling communities into equitable and prosperous places—and how the federal government can be a reliable partner in supporting that work.
“This administration created the Opportunity Zones tax incentive to bring new investment to struggling communities over the coming years. Yet the president’s budget proposes slashing many of the existing resources that are helping lift up those same communities today. And the places who most urgently need the kind of investment that Opportunity Zones could one day bring are the same places that will most acutely pay the price for this budget’s massive cuts to federal affordable housing and community development investments. It’s a similar story for rural places that could benefit the most from the budget’s proposed $25 billion for ‘revitalizing rural America’—the same places that would feel the pain from the proposal to abandon our national passenger rail network that helps connect those same rural Americans. This confusing rhetoric is sending one clear message to local communities from the federal government: ‘You cannot count on us.’
“We’ll never be able to build and sustain healthy, prosperous, and resilient communities where everyone has a fair shot at opportunity without a unified approach to transportation, climate, water, land use, and community development. This budget is not it.”