On New Year's Day Congress and the President approved legislation that prevented or delayed the worst consequences of the “fiscal cliff” from taking effect. Among other things, the legislation prevented the expiration of emergency unemployment benefits for one year, permanently “fixed” the Alternative Minimum Tax to stop looming tax increases on middle-income families, and extended the child tax-credit and earned income tax-credit for five years. The legislation also permitted the expiration of some tax-cuts on high-income earners which were enacted under the Bush Administration.
However, the legislation fell short of the “grand-bargain” sought by local leaders by merely delaying, rather than repealing, sequestration – the billions in automatic spending cuts split between federal defense and non-defense programs in order to reduce the federal deficit- and by failing to extend federal funding for Fiscal Year 2013 to the end of the fiscal year, setting up yet another showdown that could shutter the federal government.
If Congress takes no action on these issues, the cuts required by sequestration will take effect on March 1st; and the federal government will shut down when the temporary spending resolution for Fiscal Year 2013 expires on March 27th.
Programs slated for cuts include the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Home Investment Partnership (HOME), Byrne Justice Assistance Grants and COPS, as well as other critical federal resources for local governments in the areas of water infrastructure, job training, education, transit, and emergency management. The ultimate resolution of these issues will have a significant impact on cities and towns and their economic recovery and growth.
Join the National Association of Regional Councils and the National League of Cities for a free webinar discussing the details of the sequestration process and learn how city leaders from across the country can join together to urge Congress to find a bipartisan and balanced solution to reducing the deficit, not one like sequestration that will undermine the economy.