|February 8, 2008
Federal Budget Proposal
A fast analysis of President Bush’s final budget reveals the following prospects for programs important to local governments.
Crime Prevention, Public Safety and Homeland Security
- Funding for crime prevention programs that support local law enforcement efforts would be slashed by 61 percent or $1 billion as part of a consolidation of 70 state and local law enforcement assistance programs into four grant programs. This consolidation would mean the end of two popular and effective public safety programs, the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program and Byrne Justice Assistance Grants.
- Funding for grants for security, law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical teams would be cut by almost half or $1.9 billion. Funding for state and local interoperability emergency grants would stay at current levels of $50 million.
Economic Development and Housing
- Funding for the Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG) would be cut by approximately $1 billion or 30 percent from $3.9 billion to $2.9 billion. The President also proposes to eliminate the HOPE VI program, the only federal program dedicated to the construction and rehabilitation of public housing.
- Funding would increase for several affordable housing programs, including the HOME Investment Partnership Program, which would be raised by $263 million to nearly $2 billion. And, an additional $15 million, for a total of $65 million, would set aside for housing counseling programs to help homeowners at risk of foreclosure.
- Funding would increase substantially for the Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance program, adding $1 billion to a total of $7 billion. Last year, HUD ran out of funding before the end of the year, delaying payments to property owners and jeopardizing the status of the renters and the stability of communities.
- Almost $2 billion less in transportation funding authorized by SAFETEA-LU was included in the President’s budget proposal, with reductions in the transit account taken to offset the anticipated shortfall in the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund.
- Funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy was cut by 27 percent to $1.26 billion in FY 2009, eliminating the $220 million Weatherization Assistance Program that local governments use to help families insulate their homes and lower their heating or cooling costs.
Environmental Protection Agency
- The Clean Water State Revolving Fund would receive $555 million in FY 2009, a drop of about $145 million from FY 2008. Through this fund, states and local governments can access low-interest loans to for sewage treatment and pollution control.
Health and Human Services Programs
- Funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which has helped millions of poor and elderly Americans pay for heating or cooling their homes, would be reduced by 23 percent from $2.57 to $2 billion.
- Funding for the Social Services Block Grant and the Community Services Block Grant program would be zeroed out. Cities and towns that use these funds to provide welfare and other low income individuals with child care or basic medical services would have to eliminate the services offered or find alternative funding sources.
- Funding for pandemic flu preparedness would increase significantly from about $78 million last year to more than half a billion dollars this year.
Workforce Development Programs
- Funding would be reduced by $438 million for the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs, an important component of local job creation initiatives and used for training dislocated workers and disadvantaged adults and youth.
We will do our best to keep you posted on Congressional Budget debates. If you have any questions, contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.