Federal cuts, local pain
In his State of the Union address, President Obama announced a plan to freeze federal discretionary spending. American City & County asked the readers of its weekly e-mail newsletter if they were concerned that the freeze would affect programs in their communities. Below are some of the responses.
“While there may be some short term ‘pain’ in areas like health and human services and some criminal justice programs, [the United States] and [the] current administration have to start reining [in] the federal largess, prioritize earmarks as they are being phased out and set clear domestic priorities for what is left with regard to housing, health care, employment, economic development and, over the next three years, redefine the national priorities and reduce federal deficit and foreign war engagements started by the previous administration so the country can reclaim what’s left of cities like New Orleans, Camden [and] Newark, N.J., Detroit, etc., and leave a positive, lasting mark on the future of this great country. The devil is in the details, so when Obama’s actual proposal is out for general knowledge and insight, then Congress and their fellow travelers can hopefully respond with reasoned and practical support or alternatives and not ‘just say no.'”
— Jay Gsell, county manager, Genesee County, N.Y.
“I am concerned about the impact of a federal spending freeze. In my jurisdiction, the school system reports that it has already made cuts that require larger student-to-teacher ratios. If further cuts affect teaching staff ratios, they worry that they may exceed occupancy permits in some classrooms and, therefore, be in violation of the fire code. [With] sufficient federal funds, this situation could be avoided.”
— Pete Kirby, retired 911 supervisor, Fairfax County, Va.
“The federal spending freeze may affect our town’s ability to build water lines for residents. As a small, rural town in upstate New York, we are unable to build them without grants. Usually, we obtain these from [the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development]. We must wait to see what happens.”
— Brian Napoli, supervisor, Ridgeway N.Y.