On Tuesday, May 23, the Trump Administration released its proposed FY2018 budget. In all, the proposal would cut about $54 billion to programs that benefit cities, including elimination of CDBG grants, TIGER grants, EDA, NFIP Flood Hazard Mapping Program, CDFI grants, and elimination of the Appalachian Regional Commission; and significant cuts to Byrne Grants, funding for the Corps of Engineers, and water and wastewater loan and grant programs.
If approved by Congress, the proposed cuts will have a devastating impact on cities throughout the state; rural areas would be hit particularly hard. Grant and loan funds available to cities through these programs have supported job growth and economic stabilization throughout Georgia, allowe communities to complete essential projects that protect the public’s health and safety, and empower local leaders to decide where funds should be used to meet specific city needs.
The Administration has pledged to work in partnership with local officials to develop a comprehensive plan for infrastructure investment. The White House and Congress have urged city officials to communicate with them about municipal infrastructure needs and how federal funds are critical to completion of local projects. GMA encourages city officials to take advantage of this invitation from federal leaders to explain their city’s perspective on the need for federal programs for water, sewer, transportation, housing, broadband, public safety, environmental, and economic development.
The White House has already included Georgia officials in conversations about infrastructure funding, most recently by inviting GMA President Boyd Austin to participate in the Infrastructure Policy and Process Working Discussion at The White House Complex on Thursday, May 18. At that meeting, eighteen state, local, tribal, and territorial government leaders met with D.J. Gribbin, a special assistant for infrastructure policy to President Donald J. Trump. President Austin was one of three Georgians invited--including Georgia DOT Planning Director Jay Roberts, and State Senator Tyler Harper. He was also one of three mayors, including the mayor of Miami, FL, and Fayetteville, NC. The Administration plans to host future meetings in Washington to discuss infrastructure funding, including a meeting with Georgia city officials this summer. Georgia has a seat at the table in the discussion on infrastructure needs and it is imperative that city officials capitalize on this opportunity.
Congress is in recess May 29 - June 2 and will be back in session on June 6. During the break, city officials are encouraged to reach out to their Congressman and Senators to let them know how important these programs are to their community. Sharing specific local examples of where CDBG and other funds have been used by cities will are the most helpful feedback you can provide to members of Congress as they continue to work on the FY18 budget.
If you have questions about the proposed 2018 federal budget, please contact Becky Taylor at (678) 686-6276 or firstname.lastname@example.org.