President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget blueprint, which proposes funding elimination to nearly 20 agencies, major cutbacks to others and a big increase in defense spending, could hit California hard.
Upon releasing the “America First” budget last Thursday, Trump said that the major cuts are “sensible and rational” in “rebuilding” the military without adding the federal deficit.
“Every agency and department will be driven to achieve greater efficiency and to eliminate wasteful spending in carrying out their honorable service to the American people,” Trump said about the budget cuts.
Much of the money from the budget cuts would benefit the country’s Department of Defense, which would get a $54 billion hike in spending, something California’s large defense industry could see a boost from.
Meanwhile, a number of California politicians have since come out in opposition to the president’s proposed budget because of its potential impact on the state.
Sen. Kamala Harris said the budget shows a clear misunderstanding of the government’s public health, safety and education policies.
“If you are a child, college student, or senior, live in a rural or urban area, are a worker in need of a safe workplace, or simply want to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and drive on good roads, this budget is a disaster for you and your family,” Harris said in a statement.
Although most of California’s public school system gets funding at the local and state levels, the state could lose hundreds of millions of dollars in federally funded programs like the Supporting Effective Instructions Grants, which is aims to improve teacher preparation.
According to EdSource, California is expected to receive over $4 billion in funding for k-12 programs and another $4 billion for college programs this fiscal year.
The proposal includes boosts to programs that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is an advocate of, including a $1.4 billion school choice program and a nearly $170 million increase in funding for charter schools and others. There’s also a $250 million fund for a “private school choice program,” though there were no details about the program.
“This budget is the first step in investing in education programs that work,” DeVos said in a statement.
As it’s written, the proposed budget would eliminate funding for at least 19 agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Interagency Council on Homelessness, and the Legal Services Corporation, a non-profit that provides legal assistance to low income families and individuals.
Agencies that could be eliminated:
- African Development Foundation
- Appalachian Regional Commission
- Chemical Saftey Board
- Corporation for National and Community Service
- Corporation for Public Broadcasting
- Delta Regional Authority
- Denali Commission
- Institute of Museum and Library Services
- Inter-American Foundation
- U.S. Trade and Development Agency
- Legal Services Corporation [LSC]
- National Endowment for the Arts [NEA]
- National Endowment for the Humanities
- Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation
- Northern Border Regional Commission
- Overseas Private Investment Corporation
- United States Institute of Peace
- United States Interagency Council on Homelessness
- Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Eliminating the LSC would impact a number of California organizations that receive grant money from the program which covers nearly half of their funding.
And cutting funding from the NEA would impact some local organizations, too, including the Sacramento-based California Arts Council, which received $1.1 million in 2016 from the NEA.
NEA Chairman Jane Chu said in a statement that she’s disappointed in the decision to potentially cut funding from the agency, because “we see our funding actively making a difference with individuals of all ages in thousands of communities” in the country.
Chu added, “As a federal government agency, the NEA cannot engage in advocacy, either directly or indirectly. We will, however, continue our practice of educating about the NEA’s vital role in serving our nation’s communities.”
The Environmental Protection Agency is taking the biggest hit in the president’s proposed budget. The EPA is slated to take a 31 percent hit to its funding, going from $8.2 billion in 2017 to potentially $5.7 billion in 2018, according to the budget.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein pointed out the issues the budget brings to the country’s energy and water investments, including infrastructure funding.
“The president’s budget is nothing more than broken promises and misplaced priorities,” Feinstein said. “President Trump talked extensively during the campaign about rebuilding our infrastructure and making American businesses more competitive in the world.
“However, his budget cuts $1 billion from the Army Corps, which is responsible for maintaining critical flood protection and navigation infrastructure.”
City officials from both Sacramento and West Sacramento told The Sacramento Bee that a planned streetcar and other transit projects could be halted because of Trump’s proposed budget.
The budget proposes a 13 percent cut in transportation spending, which could impact the $75 million to $100 million the two cities were hoping to get to build a trolley that would connect the two towns. The $75 million was approved by the Obama administration, and Governor Jerry Brown added it on his list infrastructure projects for the state, but that still might not be enough to persuade the current administration.
And that's not all. The budget also proposes cuts that would impact homelessness, Section 8 housing, healthcare and more.
“In the first months of this administration," Sen. Harris said, "the President has shown he is willing to go to extreme lengths to cut core functions to the bone in order to make taxpayers pay for a border wall experts agree we don’t need and give tax breaks to corporations.”