Advertisements

President’s 2018 Budget Undercuts Rural Communities


Center for Rural Affairs Policy Associate Anna Johnson said today that President Trump’s 2018 budget does not support rural America and its communities. The budget was released in its final form this morning.

“The president’s budget demonstrates President Trump’s lack of understanding and prioritization of the struggles of rural communities,” she said. “Although President Trump won the presidency with broad support from rural voters, his budget proposes to zero out several programs that address the challenges of rural communities. Proposed cuts include reducing or eliminating support for rural small businesses and entrepreneurs and compromising anti-poverty programs that lead to healthy families.”

“Economic opportunity is a central struggle in rural communities: 85 percent of counties with persistent poverty are in rural areas and rural communities still have not recovered the jobs they lost during the recession,” she continued. “Nearly one in four nonelderly rural residents are covered by Medicaid, a figure that grew nearly six percent with Medicaid expansion. Programs like the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) also serve as a lifeline for those living with limited incomes in rural areas, where an estimated 15 percent of households receive SNAP assistance. These critical assistance programs are both slated for decimating cuts under the proposed budget.”

Johnson stated the budget retains deep cuts to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) discretionary spending included in the budget blueprint, including eliminating activities of the government agency that builds rural economic opportunity: the Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

“The Rural Business-Cooperative Service administers several programs – including one that provides low-interest loans to rural entrepreneurs – all zeroed out in this budget proposal,” she said. “Today’s final budget goes a step further by eliminating additional mandatory spending, including support for the Rural Economic Development Program.”

Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue proposed a reorganization of USDA that would eliminate the Undersecretary for Rural Development.

“He has described it as an ‘elevation’ of this function, but this promise rings hollow given the level of proposed funding cuts to rural development programs,” Johnson said.

The president’s 2018 budget also proposes cuts that would reduce farmers’ and ranchers’ abilities to expand conservation practices.

“Although many farmers and ranchers would like to enroll in conservation programs such as the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, they face regular bottlenecks when local conservation offices are understaffed or overburdened,” Johnson said. “The president’s proposal to reduce funding for conservation programs and for local conservation staff would increase the backlog of conservation program delivery.”

Johnson continues:

“President Trump came to the presidency with the stated goal of ‘draining the swamp’ and cutting federal spending. Instead, the new administration’s first budget proposal would drain support for rural America. We fear that these actions represent a lack of understanding of rural voters’ struggles. We urge President Trump, Secretary Perdue, and their teams to cease these actions that undercut rural Americans and rural communities.”

Advertisements

About katcountryhub
I am a graduate of Northeast Community College with a degree in journalism. I am married to Jeff Gilliland. We have two grown children, Justin and Whitney and four grandchildren, Grayce, Grayhm, Charli and Penelope. I will be covering Lyons, Decatur, Bancroft and Rosalie and am hoping to expand my horizons as time progresses!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: