The news last week that the U.S. House of Representatives is proposing to reduce community development block grant funding by nearly 50 percent is repugnant.
The CDBG program is an investment of federal dollars that helps cities and municipalities pursue economic development projects, improve their surroundings and create jobs. The program has been shown to work and benefits a host of communities and individuals.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey said his own chamber is proposing a slight increase in the CDBG budget for fiscal year 2014, from $3 billion to $3.15 billion, while the House bill recommends $1.67 billion for the next fiscal year.
Greene County receives about $200,000 to $250,000 a year, and the program is administered jointly by the county’s development department and the board of commissioners. Municipalities submit requests for projects, mostly relating to water and sewerage, and while the grant money does not cover all the projected costs, the allocations still provide them with seed money or with the opportunity to seek matching funds.
There are ample pork and special interest projects in Washington, D.C. that could, or should, take a hit. And while “spending cuts” seem to be a favorite phrase in our nation’s capital these days, these cuts impact programs where more, not less, money is needed.
Our elected representatives in the House need to sit up and rethink this proposal.