WASHINGTON--Elected officials from the National League of Cities (NLC) expressed alarm to members of Congress for cutting Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding today at a press conference in Washington. A delegation of mayors and city council members from across the country voiced their support for the 40 year-old CDBG program, citing it as one of the most effective federal programs, and urged Members of Congress to restore funding to previous levels.
CDBG funds support economic and community development activities in both small and large cities, including: infrastructure improvements, housing, public facilities, and small business assistance to spur job creation and retention.
"It is unconscionable that Washington continues to slash funding for programs that cities day in and day out depend on to support economic development and social service programs in their communities," said NLC President Marie Lopez Rogers, mayor, Avondale, AZ. "The cuts being proposed to CDBG are just the latest round of cuts cities and towns are being asked to absorb. We will continue to fight to make sure this doesn't happen; our communities, and certainly our residents, deserve better."
In a letter to the House Appropriations Committee, NLC urged Committee members to support amendments during Thursday's scheduled markup that minimize or restore reductions to programs important to cities and towns, including CDBG and HOME.
In the letter, NLC Executive Director Clarence Anthony wrote: "Although we recognize that reductions in federal spending are unavoidable in the current budget environment, the House FY14 T-HUD bill goes too far. Since 2010, Congress has cut CDBG funding by over $1 billion, significantly undermining projects and shuttering services that cities need to create jobs for our residents and that drive economic growth throughout our communities."
"Time and again Congress has come after the funding that local governments depend on to support our constituents," said Mayor Chris Coleman, NLC First Vice President and mayor, St. Paul, MN. "These are their constituents too, and the proposed draconian cuts will only bring harm to the economic development recovery efforts underway in neighborhoods across America."
Said NLC Second Vice President Ralph Becker, mayor, Salt Lake City, UT, "Unfortunately, these cuts are to the very programs the nation should be encouraging. The federal money is paired with significant local resources to support investment in infrastructure, economic development, and neighborhood revitalization. In our neighborhoods with the highest poverty rates, it is these public private partnerships that create growth, drive innovation, and support the hard working families in our communities."
The National League of Cities is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.