Casey Pushes for Increase in CDBG Funds Following Administration’s Proposed Cut in Budget

Community Data, Examples from Across Commonwealth Show Impact of CDBG in Municipalities Across Pennsylvania / President’s Budget Proposes Cutting CDBG By over $200 million / In Letter to Key Senate Committee Casey Pushes for Additional Investment

Casey Pushes for Increase in CDBG Funds Following Administration’s Proposed Cut in Budget

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) pushed for increased funding for the Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG) following the Administration’s proposal to cut funding by over $200 million. Casey highlighted community data and examples from across the state showing the impact of CDBG in municipalities. Senator Casey also released a letter to a key Senate Committee pushing for an increase as the Senate works on the fiscal year 2015 funding bills (FY15).

“CDBG has played an instrumental role in advancing locally driven projects that create jobs and contribute to economic growth,” Senator Casey said. “The cuts proposed in the Administration’s budget could limit the ability of municipalities in Pennsylvania to complete economic development projects that are essential. I’m urging Congress to increase investment in CDBG so counties and cities throughout the state can continue to innovate, create jobs and invest in what works.”

Communities in Pennsylvania received approximately. $236 million through this program in fiscal 2010 but only $171 million in FY 2014 due to spending cuts. York and Lancaster have used part of their CDBG funding to reduce blight and revitalize their historic downtowns.  In the Lehigh Valley, the cities of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton have used CDBG funds to encourage private sector investment in economic development projects ongoing in these communities.  Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Williamsport, and Hazleton used this funding to revitalize their urban cores and make much needed road improvements.  In Bucks County they used funding for an emergency homeless shelter that is open year round.  In Erie funding was used to help fund community policing and infrastructure improvements to accommodate handicapped citizens. In other parts of the state, communities like Altoona, Johnstown, State College, Erie, Sharon, and others, have used these funds to bolster existing housing stock, reconstruct streets, and improve water infrastructure.

CDBG Funding Numbers

  • FY 2015 President’s Budget Request $2.8 billion
  • FY 2014 Enacted Level: $3.03 billion
  • FY 2014 Senate Transportation Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Bill Proposal: $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 Senator Casey’s letter is below and attached are community specific funding breakdowns:

The Honorable Barbara Mikulski
Chairwoman
Senate Committee on Appropriations
The Honorable Richard Shelby
Vice Chairman
Senate Committee on Appropriations
The Honorable Patty Murray
Chairwoman
Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
The Honorable Susan Collins
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

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 $3.3 billion for the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) for Fiscal Year 2015.  CDBG funding is vital to our efforts to rebuild and revitalize our communities by generating long-term job growth and economic stability, especially for lower and moderate income communities.  I have personally witnessed how efficiently communities across Pennsylvania have used this CDBG to bolster their economies and to create and protect jobs. 

This program provides essential resources to over 1,200 entitlement cities, urban counties and states across the country.  In Pennsylvania there are 47 communities that receive direct funding and many others received CDBG that the Commonwealth distributes. CDBG funding can help finance many activities including housing rehabilitation, infrastructure improvements, and home ownership assistance. I was disappointed to see that President’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget requested $2.8 billion for CDBG.  The CDBG program has already had its funding cut drastically over the past few years and this has hindered economic development 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 undertake 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 2015 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill and your past support of this important job creating program. 

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator

Press Contact

April Mellody 202-228-6367