Budget Compromise is Only the Beginning

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This week we’ve been receiving a lot of phone calls on the budget compromise and where cities came out. NLC, in coordination with cities and towns across the nation, fought hard to preserve priority investments in cities.

The issues NLC identified as priorities – like Community Development Block Grants – help our cities get back on firm financial footing. While the broader economy may be slowly (very slowly) showing signs of life, cities are still at a low point because the revenues have yet to return. This means that cities continue to face budget shortfalls and difficult decisions that will bring cuts to essential services.

The budget passed by Congress cuts highway funds, first responder grants, and of course, reduces CDBG funding which is used in everything from economic development to low income housing. Cities will certainly feel the pain quite severely.

I wish we could say that this is the end of the budget battles, but it is only just beginning. Before the 2011 compromise was voted on, the debate over fiscal 2012 had begun with House Republicans and the President both announcing their own proposals.

Budget deficits are creating enormous pressure on Washington to reduce spending. But unfortunately, many of the proposals hit right at the innovative programs that invest in our communities and our nation’s future. It is vital that all city officials remain vigilant and continue to educate their federal counterparts to the value of these programs on the local level. Demonstrating the local impact is the best way to highlight the programs that do work and deserve to supported.