By Tyler Falk
Posting in Cities
Further details of the $40 billion budget cuts were released yesterday, and it doesn't look good for cities.
With cities struggling financially, details of the $40 billion in budget cuts, released yesterday by the House Appropriation Committee, were not a welcome sight. And programs that are working to make our cities more sustainable were especially hampered.
Here are some of the important cuts that will affect cities:
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Fund program was reduced by $942 million.
- Transportation, housing, urban development, and related agencies are reduced by 18 percent of last year's budget.
- Cuts $2.9 billion from high speed rail, including the $400 million that Florida declined.
- Transit funding cut by $991 million, including a $502 million cut to the New Starts transit program and a $72 million to the popular TIGER grant program.
- The Partnership for Sustainable Communities is reduced from $150 million to $100 million.
- Eliminates the "urban affairs czar."
What does it all mean? It means high-speed rail is not a priority; expensive transit projects will slow, even with the price of gas climbing even higher. It means that community development projects to provide affordable housing will suffer and brownfield redevelopment will halt.
And with an increasing number of people moving to cities, it's unfortunate that politicians don't see the value of the investing in urban areas.
But with a final vote on the bill is expected in the House and Senate later this week, it looks like cities will have to cut back or get creative with their money.
Photo: Timothy Valentine/Flickr
Apr 12, 2011
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Its big reading, but the numbers are there. There are sites with the broken down information, but you can do it yourself. Take the 2008 the 2008, 2009 and 2010 budgets. Subtract the stimulus, Medicaid, Social Security, military spending, etc from the equation and just look at the base budget for the operation of the US government. Here is one example that was dug up by USA Today. In 2008 the Pentagon had less than 100 civilian employees who made over $100,000 per year. Pay raises of 10 to 25 percent saw that number skyrocket to over 10,000 people making over $100,000 per year in 2009. USA Today found that pattern in every major department or agency in the 2009 budget. I am not surprised you never heard of it. Only Fox covered the story when it broke. Every other TV news organization ignored it or ran the story at 1 am so they could claim to have covered it, but keep it low profile for their president. The forth estate has been compromised.
HI, #1 Could you be more specific or provide a link as to these "most federal agencies" that saw between 20 and 24% budget increases? I've never heard such a thing before and I'm interested in investigating it. But then maybe you're just engaging in hyperbole to support your position rather than actually making a factual statement (kind of like when Sen. John Kyl said 90% of Planned Parenthood is abortion services when it's actually about 3%. His office when asked about the statement said it wasn't meant to be a factual statement).
If the people in power knew what they were talking about. High-speed rail as envisioned by our President and his advisors is a sick joke. Bring back the old express lines and we can talk. The same can be said for their urban renewal plans and the use of alternative energy sources to cut oil imports. If they had spent money wisely they would already have solutions to these issues in place.
...with his straw-man creation of me, instead of actually addressing the issue at hand. I don't believe the debate here was about the "environment", but about how our cities need to stop robbing each other as the ultimate solution to their problems. His reply contributed nothing to that debate.
@eil_popowitz James Madison (the Father of the Constitution): "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents. With respect to the words 'general welfare', I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."
Those ~$40 Billion in cuts are just a drop in the bucket of the $700 Billion interest payments on the National Debt this year. We should start by freezing all Federal Spending at 2008 levels. Cities should depend upon their own resources and not have their existence depend upon taxpayers from other states and cities. High-speed rail is not a priority; getting the National Debt and reducing the Federal Budget Deficit is. Candidate and President Obama promised that the price of gas would increase under his policies; he wants us to give up our cars, hence the priority on borrowing/printing even more play money to pay for high-speed rail. Wake up and smell the coffee... please!
@neil_popowitz I would disagree. When there isn't hardly enough money to go around in the first place, cuts have to be made. What John was talking about was that each city needs to use its own money to develop itself rather than being granted another city's money that they need to develop themselves. Preserving the environment is good. Saving money is good. However, borrowing more money to fund new projects on top of what is already being spent will never save money, no matter how long the run. Cities need to learn how to adapt their current budgets to meet their needs (whether that involve cuts or innovation) rather than just throwing more money into the mix. That goes for states, too. As for "preserving the 'commonwealth,'" what is good for cities is not necessarily good for everyone else, and what is good for everyone may not be beneficial for anyone. Preserving the "commonwealth" should not come before the good of the people. Most of the time these are one and the same, but right now finances are of a great concern since we are spending ourselves into oblivion. If we don't stop spending, all the development in the world isn't going to help us.
The irony of John McGrew's comment is that he references the "Tragedy of the Commons" for the use of funds for these programs on a national level, while ignoring the fact that these projects are intended to work to lower the expense of sprawl: fewer greenhouse gases, fewer miles traveled, less gasoline use, smaller carbon footprint, fewer roads to maintain, etc. Spending the money collectively in order to preserve the "commons," i.e., the air we all breath, the environment we all live in, lessen our dependence on foreign oil, and make government more efficient by lessening the need to build and maintain wider and wider rings of infrastructure that feed the sprawl, should be both the right thing to do as well as a conservative fiscal issue. In the long run, these programs will save us all a lot of money to say nothing of environmental degradation. Instead, John has turned the phrase on its head to justify not acting together to preserve the "commonwealth."
...or just plain propaganda. There's is absolute zero critical thought or analysis here. "What does it all mean? It means high-speed rail is not a priority; expensive transit projects will slow, even with the price of gas climbing even higher. It means that community development projects to provide affordable housing will suffer and brownfield redevelopment will halt." You forgot the women and children will starve and the sun will fail to rise. "And with an increasing number of people moving to cities, it?s unfortunate that politicians don?t see the value of the investing in urban areas." Since when have we not been "investing in cities"? Do tell: Why should the citizens of Phoenix be taxed to pay for projects in New York while citizens of New York are taxed to pay for projects in LA while citizens of LA are taxed to pay for projects in Boston... and so on. This is a perfect example of the "Tragedy of the Commons", where the federal government is the "commons" and the tragedy is that everyone is out to get a piece of everyone else's share; the result being that the money is squandered since nobody feels ownership since it is always coming from somewhere else, and the "commons" are bled dry because everyone's only out for "their share". "But with a final vote on the bill is expected in the House and Senate later this week, it looks like cities will have to cut back or get creative with their money." Seems to me that we'd all be better off if cities would be "creative" with their money, instead of squandering everyone else's.
Most federal agencies saw between 20 and 24 percent budget increases in 2009 after seeing annual increases close to 4 percent for decades. This dramatic increase in spending was outside of and not including stimulus spending that was funneled through many of these departments. The roughly 4 percent increases returned in 2010. The 2011 fiscal year, started October 1st 2010, was flat lined in the many continuing resolutions because the President never put forward a 2011 budget. Doing some simple math you can see that an 18 percent cut in a budget puts the budget back in line with the historic average. That is why returning spending to 2008 levels is a key goal for budget cutters. Removing the urban affairs czar and the associated support staff and spending eliminates most of that new spending without impacting the core HUD functions that had been in place for decades.