Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to johnc@cfra.org.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Center for Rural Affairs 1 of 21 National Organizations Voicing Opposition to $2 Billion in Community & Economic Development Cuts

March 15, 2005

Washington, DC – A diverse coalition of 21 national organizations representing the nation’s community and economic development practitioners, elected officials and constituency groups declared their overwhelming opposition today to the Administration’s proposal to eliminate 18 federal community and economic development programs. The coalition is also opposing the $2 billion cut in overall funding for federal support for state and local development efforts.

According to a March 15 letter to the bipartisan leadership of the House and Senate, "At a time when nearly every American business and community is confronting intense competition from emerging and developing nations, the federal government should be expanding its resources and assistance for local community and economic development."

"Instead, the Administration is recommending a 34 percent funding cut and more unfunded mandates for our nation’s state and local governments," explained the coalition. "The President’s plan would also significantly diminish and eviscerate the federal role in community development projects such as providing first-time access to clean and drinkable water, affordable housing and community facilities for our nation’s poorer areas and citizens."

"From our perspective as the constituencies at the frontlines of community and economic development, we feel strongly that the current federal investment of $5.7 billion each year is a solid, wise and effective investment in our nation’s local communities. While we understand and recognize the current federal budget climate, we must point out that the proposed funding cut represents less than one-half of a percent of last year’s federal deficit."

"More importantly, the $2 billion reduction in federal investments will result in the loss of at least $18 billion in matching and leveraging investments by the private sector and other governmental and nonprofit programs at the state and local level," the group concluded. "Our nation’s distressed regions, communities and neighborhoods need national leadership, models of innovation and matching funds for locally-led projects and initiatives. Instead, we fear the Administration’s proposal will result in more communities marking time in the land of
lost opportunity."

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: MATTHEW CHASE, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS
(202) 624-5947 WORK
(703) 731-0742 CELL

American Planning Association
American Public Works Association
Association for Enterprise Opportunity
Center for Rural Affairs
Coalition of Community Development Financial Institutions
US Conference of Mayors
Council of State Community Development Agencies
Local Initiatives Support Corporation
National Association of Counties
National Association of Development Organizations
National Association of Regional Councils
National Association of RC&D Councils
National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies
National Community Capital Association
National Community Development Association
National Farmers Union
National Low Income Housing Coalition
National Rural Funders Collaborative
National Rural Housing Coalition
Northeast-Midwest Institute
Rural Community Advancement Program
The Enterprise Foundation

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