Budget Cuts to Help the Wealthy

Article excerpt

A House subcommittee's vote to cut $7 billion from the Department of Housing and Urban Development's budget threatens the promise of $46 million in federal funds for St. Louis to remake the Darst-Webbe housing complex and the surrounding Near South Side neighborhood.

Republicans running the subcommittee decided, in effect, that the wealthy need a capital-gains tax break - that's among the reasons HUD's budget is being slashed - a lot more than distressed cities and their residents needed redevelopment money.

Congress should ask itself whether the well-to-do would invest their capital gains savings in housing and other community-improvement projects like the one proposed for Darst-Webbe. HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros thinks not. More likely, he says, the beneficiaries will buy luxuries - a new boat, perhaps, or a second home or a condominium - financed in part by putting more poor people on the streets. The $7 billion in proposed recissions included money to help more than 30,000 homeless families move into transitional or permanent housing.

In addition, Mr. Cisneros says some of the money was targeted to help communities address other critical needs, such as housing rehabilitation and social services for the elderly. …


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