Casey: House’s Proposed CDBG Cuts Would Imperil Local Economic Development Projects in Coming Months

In Letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Casey Pushes for Adequate Resources

House Budget Would Cut Funds by nearly 50% to $1.6 billion, Leaving Already Strapped Municipalities In Tougher Situations

Local Data for Municipalities Across PA Shows Benefit of CDBG

Washington, DC- As a House of Representatives plan to drastically reduce Community Block Development Grants (CDBG) moves forward, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) called on Congress to adequately fund the program that helps municipalities across Pennsylvania move important economic development projects forward.

“Community Block Development Grants are a key part of how cities and municipalities across Pennsylvania move forward with economic development projects,” Senator Casey said. “The House’s decision to drastically reduce CDBG funds after a 25% cut in the last few years is the wrong course. The Senate’s bill will ensure that communities across Pennsylvania have the resources they need to create jobs and spark economic growth.”  

Mayors across Pennsylvania are supporting Casey’s push:

Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia: “CDBG is a proven success.  In Philadelphia, we have used these funds to create jobs on commercial corridors, to keep homeowners from losing their homes through sheriff sale and to provide housing to formerly homeless veterans.   This is a vital and important program for cities.”

Mayor Tom Leighton of Wilkes-Barre: "The CDBG program is a vital tool for local municipalities to alleviate an already strained general fund budget to provide vital city services like slum and blight demolitions and street paving. We also fund a number of important community service oriented non-profits in the city including the Commission for Economic Opportunity, Ruth's Place, and the Osterhout Free Library. These organizations have already been decimated by other federal and state cuts as well as declining individual contributions in a struggling economy. When these organizations struggle, it inevitably falls back on the city government to fill the void left behind. CDBG has been an extraordinary success and an example of smart and productive government investment in our municipalities which are the backbone of our country. CDBG creates jobs most of all and we need to be doing everything in our power to spur economic development. We ask that this program be protected from future cuts and needs to be fully funded."

Mayor Ed Pawlowski of Allentown: The CDBG program has been a huge catalyst for financing housing, water and sewer infrastructure and streets, and economic development projects across the country. While we agree that reducing the federal budget deficit over the next several years is imperative to Allentown’s and the nation’s fiscal health, cuts to the CDBG program and others will have little real impact on that goal. Those cuts would have a deleterious effect on the quality of life in and the local economies of American cities. The impact of these cuts on thousands of projects and programs at the neighborhood level, and the jobs supported by those projects, will be very real.

 

Senator Casey highlighted local data showing the impact the program has had on municipalities across the state and discuss the levels at which the program has been previously funded and the impact that the House’s severe cuts would have.  Pennsylvania received approximately $200 million in fiscal year 2011. $236 million through this program in fiscal 2010.  This was up from $219 million in fiscal 2009.

CBDG Funding Numbers

 

FY 2014 Senate THUD Bill: $3.15 billion

FY 2014 President’s Budget Request: $2.79 billion

FY 2014 House THUD Bill: $1.67 billion

FY 2013 Enacted Level: $3 billion

FY 2012 Enacted Level: $2.95 billion

The full text of Casey’s letter can be seen below. Attached are city and county breakdowns of fiscal year 2012 funding.  

July 18, 2013

The Honorable Barbara Mikulski                                           The Honorable Richard Shelby  

Chairwoman                                                                           Vice Chairman

Senate Committee on Appropriations                                    Senate Committee on Appropriations

United States Senate                                                               United States Senate                    

Washington, D.C. 20510                                                        Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Patty Murray                                                  The Honorable Susan Collins

Chairwoman                                                                            Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Transportation,                                           Subcommittee on Transportation,
Housing and Urban Development,                                          Housing and Urban Development,

and Related Agencies                                                              and Related Agencies

Washington, D.C. 20510                                                         Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairwomen, Vice Chairman, and Ranking Member:

I write to convey my strong support for the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding level of $3.15 billion for the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) for Fiscal Year 2014.  CDBG funding is crucial to our efforts to rebuild and revitalize our communities by generating long-term job growth and economic stability, especially for the middle class.  I have personally witnessed how efficiently communities have used this funding to reinvigorate their economies and to create jobs.  This program provides crucial resources to over 1,200 entitlement cities, urban counties and states across the country and has a proven track record in its contribution to economic and community revitalization.

I was disappointed to see that the House of Representatives has decided to drastically cut funding for the CDBG program.  The House funding level of $1.67 billion for Fiscal Year 2014 is inadequate and will make it tougher for cities and municipalities to make ends meet in a challenging economic climate.  The CDBG program has already had its funding cut nearly 25% in the past few years and this has had negative repercussions in many communities across the country.  Now is not the time to make further cuts to this important job creating program.

The CDBG program is a smart investment that directly helps cities and municipalities catalyze economic development and create jobs.  As this bill comes to the floor I will continue to advocate for a strong funding level for the CDBG program.  Thank you and the other members of the Subcommittee for your work on the Fiscal Year 2014 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill. 

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

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