City leaders from across U.S. call out president's budget

Impact of proposed budget cuts

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A group of city leaders from across the country spoke out Tuesday in Cleveland about what the president's proposed federal budget cuts could mean to cities on a local level.

Cleveland City Council member Matt Zone is the president of the National League of Cities. He spoke to media on Tuesday with the mayors of Gary, Ind. and Little Rock, Ark. Zone said city leaders are trying to emphasize that federal dollars fund local projects and amenities, so cuts on a federal level mean local cuts.

"When you shift $54 billion out of domestic spending, that we've all been accustomed to, it's gong to have a ripple effect," said Zone.

The president's proposed budget increases military and defense spending, by cutting other federal programs and services.

"What this really is, I think in theory, is a transference of obligations that the Federal government had traditionally done and putting the burden on local government," said Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola. "It is not really an issue of conservative or liberal or Republican or Democrat -- it's whether or not we are hurting those who need the help the most."

Federal funding is also used for things like job training, education, heating, and rental assistance programs.

"When we start taking about libraries, fire stations and communities, affordable housing for people who can't afford it -- that's a face on an issue and that affects cities," said Clarence Anthony, the executive director of the National League of Cities.

Zone said there's a reason for government.

"We are all for streamlining government, but there's a reason that you have government is to make sure that people are protected," said Zone. "We all need to work together, and we are leading on so many fronts, cities, but (it's difficult) when you have a federal government that's pulling out."

The mayors stressed that they are not partisan about these issues, saying they pushed back against cuts that would have affected cities from the Obama administration as well.

Cleveland 19 reached out to each of the congress members who represent Northeast Ohio to see if they had any comment on the president's proposed budget cuts and the concerns of the National League of Cities.

Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH 9):

"Whether it is the Great Lakes restoration, housing, after-school programs, health care or Meals on Wheels -- President Trump's budget proposal is harmful to Ohio's families from top to bottom. Often the federal government is the only party investing in certain programs that give our communities a leg-up and create jobs. As a Senior Member of the Appropriations Committee, which controls spending, I will work every day to create a bipartisan consensus to fight these harmful cuts."

Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH 13)

"As of the last census, just over 80 percent of the US population lived in urban metropolitan areas. Because of the unique role that cities play in our society's cultural and economic growth, the Federal Government has over time created programs that have become critical to sustaining their development and viability. Unfortunately, instead of recognizing the benefits that these programs have on our country as a whole, President Trump's Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal included $54 billion in domestic cuts that would eliminate several programs that have proven to be successful investments, including the Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG), which assists local and state governments with programs like Meals on Wheels and infrastructure improvements. His budget would even eliminate the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants, which have benefited Northeast Ohio greatly," said Congressman Ryan (OH-13). "Candidate Trump made sweeping overtures of support for cities throughout the campaign, but President Trump has done nothing but the opposite since taking office. I will oppose any budget that fails to recognize the important role that cities have in the United States."

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) released the following comments on the proposed budget:

"Ohio families know that making a budget is about choosing priorities. This budget makes it clear Ohio families are not this Administration's priority," said Brown. "Instead of investing in our communities so they can create jobs, combat the opioid epidemic, upgrade their infrastructure, and protect our clean water, this budget will leave our towns and cities scrambling to support working Ohioans. Thankfully, Congress will have a say in the final budget and I will work with Republicans and Democrats in the Ohio delegation to fight for Ohio priorities."

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH 11) has released the following comments about the proposed budget:

"President Trump's proposed budget is an attack on infants and children, students, families, seniors, the working poor, the disabled, and all but the richest of Americans. Despite his promise to put 'taxpayers first,' the President prioritizes wealthy Americans' pocketbooks and turns his back on those in need.  One broken promise after another. His budget proposes catastrophic cuts to nearly every vital social program, including Medicaid, Social Security Disability Insurance, Meals on Wheels, after school programs, CHIP, LIHEAP, and SNAP. Programs Ohioans depend on. The Trump budget destroys jobs, removes needed funding to protect our lakes and waterways, and fails to invest in our state's and nation's future. It is a budget without a conscience. It is heartless! There are substantial cuts to job training and the elimination of TIGER grants. Trump's budget reduces funding for public education and federal student loans. This attack will have devastating, irreversible effects on economic opportunity and financial stability for far too many Americans. This budget is another Republican attempt to reward the rich and bury the poor.  President Trump's budget lets us know just what he thinks of us. NOT MUCH!"

Republican Senator Rob Portman, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH4), Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH7), Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH16) and Rep David Joyce (R-OH14) did not provide Cleveland 19 with a comment or statement.

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