New Report Details Potential Federal Funding Losses in Great Plains States
Center for Rural Affairs
April 21, 2005
(LYONS, NE) Only 72 municipalities and seven counties in six Great Plains states might qualify for funding under the President's proposed “Strengthening America's Communities Initiative” – (SACI) – according to a new report released by the Center for Rural Affairs.
The Center’s report highlights how the SACI funds could be distributed. "There are no detailed proposal regulations at this point," says Jon Bailey, Director of the Center’s Research and Analysis Program, "but based on the wording of the initiative and statements by the administration, this report outlines a likely result."
While all qualifying municipalities and counties in the region are rural, only .3 percent of the region’s population resides in areas that may receive SACI funding.
SACI is a proposal contained in the President’s FY2006 budget, and would eliminate 18 economic and community development programs, roll them into one new program and provide one-third less funding.
Among the programs targeted for elimination are several that help modernize infrastructure, develop small businesses and create jobs in a significant number of rural communities – Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), the Rural Business Opportunity Grants, the Rural Business Enterprise Grants, and the Economic Development Administration.
The qualifying criteria according to the SACI wording – low-income, poverty, job loss and unemployment – will not apply to most rural municipalities and counties.
“SACI is the wrong idea for economic and community development in most of rural America,” according to Bailey. “Unemployment and job loss are not the real issues facing most rural communities – low incomes and low paying jobs and aging infrastructure are. Any federal investment in rural America must recognize the real issues facing rural people and rural places.”
Previous research by the Center shows that rural incomes in the region are only about 70 percent of those in metropolitan areas.
The four page report is part of the Center's Rural Action Brief series. It is available from the Center on their website, at http://www.cfra.org/.