Since then, I poked around some sources and found the following details and facts about proposed cuts to the block grant program and the magnitude of the possible damage for neighborhoods like ours.
- The Bush administration’s planned budget for 2006 would cut grants (which includes block grants) to state and local governments by $10.7 billion after adjusting for inflation and excluding Medicaid payments.
- The block grant program—which you will remember helps provide all kinds of important services for neighborhoods from sidewalks to summer youth programs to commercial revitalization—is providing $4.7 billion to cities and towns in 2005. Under the president’s budget, that program and 17 others would be cut and compacted into a single $3.7 billion program. That is a huge hit for our neighborhoods to take.
- Under Bush’s plan, funding for community and economic development to states and localities would drop by more than one-third in 2010. In 2010, federal discretionary grants to states and localities would decline by $22 billion. Cumulative reduction from 2006 to 2010 would be $71 billion.
- NationalPriorities.org summarizes the effects here in Tennessee: the budget proposal includes cuts of $303.9 million for discretionary grants to state and local governments, including: A) $37.3 million for community and economic development; B) $3.2 million for low-income home energy assistance; and C) $5.6 million for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.
- Faced with the evaporation of federal grants after this year, states and localities would face the stark choice of either reducing services or raising taxes. Given the political climate in the Tennessee legislature, the damage inflicted on our neighborhoods could be considerable.