Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Cities Cry Foul: Say Half-Year Budget Avoids Tough Calls

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Cities Cry Foul: Say Half-Year Budget Avoids Tough Calls

Article excerpt

In a potential blow to state and local government fiscal stability, House Majority Leader Richard Armey (R-Tex.) proposed half-year federal funding for state and municipal programs. Under Armey's proposal, which he claimed had been agreed upon by House and Senate GOP leaders, Congress would provide funding for all discretionary program only through March 31, 1997 - and that funding would be at current levels.

For cities, the impact would be that of a one-two punch, stirring up uncertainty about what, if any, federal funds would be available in the second half of the federal fiscal year. Further, the plan to maintain current levels would mean an effective cut in all priority programs through the elimination of any adjustment to reflect inflation.

NLC President Greg Lashutka urged municipal leaders to strongly oppose any such suggestion:

"We elected Congress to make choices. Failure to complete action on annual spending bills will have consequences - not just for states and local governments in added uncertainty, but in a further erosion of respect by the citizens and taxpayers for failure to get the job done.

"No city adopts a half-year budget. No city in 1996 shutdown operations and services to its citizens. One of our most basic responsibilities to our citizens is to make those hard choices, to understand the consequences and to fully accept the responsibility. It is not to avoid choices.

"Congress can do better. We cannot afford a repeat of this last year. I urge every municipal leader to contact his or her Congressional delegation and tell them to get the job done. And get it done on time."

Municipal Budgets

Will Feel Pinch

The proposal could be especially harsh on municipal budget and capital budgeting planners, making it virtually impossible to accurately predict what level of federal funding would be available, not just for AM and local budgets, but also for community development, transportation and other local capital projects. …

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