Mayors unhappy with Bush’s proposed budget cuts
The president of the Washington-based U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) is extremely disappointed in President Bush’s proposed budget cuts to several domestic programs in fiscal year 2008. While increasing military spending, Bush has proposed deep cuts in the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, as well as several local law enforcement and homeland security programs.
The CDBG cut, which would reduce the program’s funding from $4.2 billion in 2007 to $3 billion in 2008, topped the list of complaints issued by USCM President and Trenton, N.J., Mayor Douglas Palmer. “We deplore the proposed $1.1 billion cut to CDBG and believe it is most unfortunate that this administration has repeatedly attempted to devastate this program that invests directly in America’s neighborhoods,” Palmer says in a statement on the USCM Web site. Funding for local law enforcement programs could be cut in half, and Homeland Security first responder grants for terrorism prevention, high-threat urban areas and fire assistance would by cut by $985 million. The Pell Grants program and the National Endowment for the Arts would see increases, and Bush proposes a system of using private activity bonds to fund local infrastructure programs.
Palmer says the USCM is working with members of Congress to save the programs. “As CEO’s of the nation’s cities, mayors know all too well the challenges America’s families face,” Palmer says. “We believe this budget weakens American families and does not reflect the priorities of the American people.”