Trump ‘skinny’ budget starves many Ohio programs
Initial analysis shows local governments, the Great Lakes, seniors and children at risk
President Trump’s budget plan contains many policy changes which will affect our public services and our daily lives across Ohio. For one thing, the state budget is closely linked to the federal budget. Ohio’s proposed, two-year budget for 2018-19 is about $136 billion: about $67 billion in 2018 and $69 billion in 2019. Federal funds make up 37 percent of the Ohio budget, a larger share than the national average of 31 percent.
Figure 1. Federal funds in Ohio’s All-Funds budget in the current (2016-17) budget
Source: Policy Matters Ohio, based on Ohio Legislative Service Commission’s Budget in Detail for HB 49
Two, many organizations and entities in addition to the state rely on federal funding. Ohio communities have benefitted from Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds over the past 40 years, a grant program provided directly from the federal government to cities. Neighborhood storefronts and town squares throughout the state have been restored with CDBG funds. This program is eliminated in the federal budget, along with many others.
We took a look at how elements of the Trump budget might impact the state, and describe some of them here. But this doesn’t begin to cover the impacts that will be felt by people, families and communities across the state.
Federal funds in the state budget
Federal funds in Ohio support investments in health, education, transportation and many other critical needs. Figure 2 shows how much federal funding contributed by major programs areas in the state budget
during the current biennium. The largest share of federal funds goes to health care, primarily through Medicaid, and also to other health and human services in the Ohio, including the Departments of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Developmental Disabilities, Aging, Public Health, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities and Job and Family Services. K-12 education receives significant federal support. Because of the importance of federal funding in these budget, the biennial budget under consideration for the next two years will have to be revised and reshaped for many agencies and services.
Figure 2. Federal funds by program area funding in Ohio’s 2016-17 budget
Source: Policy Matters Ohio, based on Ohio Legislative Service Commission Budget in Detail for HB 49
The “skinny” Trump budget released today provides a sketchy outline of the President’s priorities.
The federal Department of Health and Human Services faces the largest cut in dollar terms: $12.6 billion, or 16.2 percent.
- The Federal Department of Education takes a 14 percent cut. Among other eliminated programs is the 21stCentury Community Learning Center initiative, which provides $1.2 billion to schools and supports before- and after-school programs as well as summer programs. Overall funding for schools is slashed, but funding for privatized education is boosted by more than $1 billion.
- Transportation loses 13 percent, $2.4 billion. Amtrak, local transit agencies, and rural communities that depend on federal subsidies would take the brunt.
- The federal department of Housing and Urban Development loses 13 percent of its budget as well, with cuts across a swath of programs that have been mainstays to poor rural communities and central city neighborhoods.
A quick glance shows that some groups of Ohioans would lose more than others. For example, seniors – who stand to lose aid in Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act – also lose in the president’s budget plan. The Community Services Block Grant, used in Ohio for many senior services, is eliminated, along with the Senior Community Service Employment program. Regions and communities lose: The Appalachian Regional Development Commission is on the chopping block, along with the Community Development Block Grant, Economic Development Administration and Minority Business Development Agency. Low-income people lose important services: The Legal Services Corporation (Legal Aid) is slated for elimination. Some training programs are eliminated and some job corps functions are downsized.
The budget document narrative reveals more damage:
- The United States Department of Agriculture water and wastewater loan and grant program is eliminated. Rural communities are referred to private financing and state programs.
- Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program – LIHEAP – one of the biggest programs in the Ohio Development Services Agency, will be eliminated. It provides crucial assistance allowing hundreds of thousands of Ohioans to keep their homes heated during the winter. Other weatherization programs are also eliminated.
- Training programs for health care professionals are discontinued. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) training grants are eliminated.
- The Federal Transit Authority’s capital investment program for public transit will be limited.
- Funding for the Great Lakes Restoration initiative will be eliminated.
- The Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which provides assistance to small manufacturers, will be eliminated.
- The federal Environmental Protection Agency is downsized by 31 percent. The Department of Labor is slashed by 21 percent. The Department of Agriculture is also cut by 21 percent. These agencies are among the five with the largest cuts. (The other biggest losers are the Army Corps of Engineers, with a 16 percent cut, and the State Department, with a 29 percent cut).
After the president presents his budget plan, Congress must pass a budget resolution which includes spending and revenue figures. This will then be taken through a process called “budget reconciliation,” to effectuate the changes. It all may take several months.
There is time for action. Call your Senators (Portman and Brown) and let them know how this budget plan will affect you. Find out who your Congressperson is in the House of Representatives, and call that person as well.