Wednesday, March 22, 2017

GOP Governors Hate Trumps Budget


Ever since the advent of St Ronald of Reagan, Republicans in Congress have been beavering away at the funding provided to people and states to save their corporate masters from paying taxes. As a result states have had to either raise taxes and fees to provide what the citizens want or submit underfunded programs to the Death of a Thousand GOP Cuts. And now with the first budget of Cheeto Mussolini, this process has reached its ultimate end, slashing everything except defense and corporate welfare.
In private, Mr. Bevin has been blunter about the party’s disagreements. Just days before appearing with Mr. Trump in Louisville, he joined a conference call with the president’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, to protest a White House proposal to defund the Appalachian Regional Commission, an economic development agency that spans 13 states and steers millions of dollars in federal money to Kentucky.

Mr. Bevin was not alone in his dismay.

As Mr. Trump and his advisers press for bone-deep cuts to the federal budget, Republican governors have rapidly emerged as an influential bloc of opposition. They have complained to the White House about reductions they see as harmful or arbitrary, and they plan to pressure members of Congress from their states to oppose them.

Of acute concern to Republicans are a handful of low-profile programs aimed at job training and economic revitalization, including regional development agencies like the Appalachian commission and the Delta Regional Authority, which serves eight Southern and Midwestern states, seven of them with Republican governors. They are also protective of grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a $3.4 billion job-training program funded through the Labor Department.

Mr. Trump’s budget office has proposed to eliminate or deeply slash funding for all of those programs, along with dozens of others.

Kim S. Rueben, a budget expert at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, said the retrenchment in Mr. Trump’s spending plan appeared to be significantly out of step with his campaign promises to use the federal government as a machine for creating jobs, especially in distressed Midwestern and rural areas.

“It just seems like you’re going after places that are so pivotal to what you are arguing you wanted to do for your base,” Ms. Rueben said of Mr. Trump’s budget. “They’re cutting all sorts of infrastructure projects and economic development projects at the same time that the president is still talking about how much of an investment he’s going to put into infrastructure.”

The White House’s proposed cuts would be felt in matters well beyond economic development: A budget briefing circulated last week by the National Governors Association, a nonpartisan group, identified a long list of Trump-backed cuts to programs that support states. They include the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, a $3 billion project in the Department of Health and Human Services that helps people pay for heating and air conditioning, and the Community Development Block Grant program, a $3 billion initiative of the Department of Housing and Urban Development that funds local projects from affordable housing to Meals on Wheels.
And none of this includes the anticipated decimation of Medicaid which is guaranteed to make any governor feel like a sack of corn in a gristmill. Maybe Trump will be the end of the Republican dominance in the South. He certainly will leave destruction in his wake worthy of the biggest hurricane.

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