Earlier today President Trump released his budget blueprint for fiscal year 2017-2018, which outlines increased military spending and cuts for many domestic programs—including key programs that support economic growth in American communities.
Notably the blueprint eliminates funding for HUD’s Community Development Block Grants, USDOT’s TIGER Grants, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and would make major cuts to the EPA; HUD’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program, Choice Neighborhoods and the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program; as well as development programs at USDA.
In response, Smart Growth America’s President and CEO Geoffrey Anderson issued the following statement:
“The Trump Administration has promised to invest in infrastructure, create jobs, revitalize inner cities, and bring economic opportunity to communities and people that haven’t reaped the rewards of the expanding economy.
This budget moves in the wrong in direction.
It cuts money that communities use for revitalization, cuts money for infrastructure that draws private investment, and cuts housing funds when the nation is experiencing severe pressure in the housing market.
This will put even more pressure on already overstretched local governments. Lack of affordable housing will diminish economic competitiveness and increase demands on local government for services. Disappearing funds for public transportation will make it more difficult for people to get to jobs and will strand public and private dollars that were going to match federal dollars. Elimination of community development funding means blighted properties won’t return to the tax rolls and continue to drag on neighbors property values. These are the tools communities use to address social issues, improve their tax base, and build their economies. Without them communities will see rising demands on their services and fewer opportunities to grow their economies.
This can’t be solved with small fixes to individual programs. The starting point for the budget has to be rethought so that Americans aren’t forced to choose between good transportation and attainable housing, or between support for small businesses and support for low-income families. These programs need to work together in order to succeed.
Smart Growth America works in dozens of communities, large and small, every year and we’ve seen that there is tremendous leadership locally but the challenges are great. We see communities raising money to revitalize their downtowns, building their transportation infrastructure, supporting new business and employment opportunities, and fighting blight and homelessness. We also see that federal money is almost always part of these efforts.
This is a moment when America’s communities need smart investments that lead to greater security and opportunity. The Trump Administration promised these very things. Smart Growth America looks forward to working with Congress and the Administration to deliver on these promises and that should start with increased investments at the community level.”