Milwaukee Biz Blog: Trump’s proposed budget is an attack on working class people

Could hurt economic development in Milwaukee

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I am shocked at the short-sighted and mean-spirited federal budget proposed by President Donald Trump. In its attempt to pander to the most extreme wing of the Republican Party, what this budget proposes could hamstring economic development here in Milwaukee and have very serious consequences for low income and working class people nationwide who are just trying to get by.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Reception in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 22, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

The draconian cuts included in this budget include the complete elimination of many programs that reasonable people can agree serve vital purposes in our society. While it’s difficult to discern which will be the most detrimental, there are several that would hurt us a great deal here in Milwaukee that I would like to highlight:

  • The Community Development Block Grant program, in USA Today, is called the “bread-and-butter funding source for local communities,” and that is no understatement. CDB grants provide millions of dollars to the City of Milwaukee each year to help fund vital city services, urban revitalization, employment initiatives, community-based organizations and many more important programs. The loss of these support services would be devastating to our most vulnerable residents.
  • The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps the elderly and the poor pay their heating and power bills when times get tough. This program has served as a literal lifeline for Wisconsinites struggling to survive our cold, unforgiving winters, and its proposed elimination is simply callous and unnecessary.
  • The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program has provided Milwaukee with an important tool to help modernize our city’s infrastructure while creating jobs for our residents. These grants have helped us turn around Milwaukee’s economic fortunes, and it seems President Trump is targeting them just because they’re part of President Obama’s legacy.
  • The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and dozens of other programs that President Trump is proposing to eliminate under the Environmental Protection Agency are important, not only because of the jobs they provide Milwaukee as a freshwater sciences hub. But this agency and these programs are needed to preserve the quality of water and air necessary for future generations to thrive.
  • The National Endowment for the Arts has been a particular benefit to us in Milwaukee through its support of the MKE Plays program, which is building new playgrounds for children in underserved neighborhoods throughout the city.

I hope that, for the good of Milwaukee and especially for its most vulnerable residents, Congressional leaders will see the folly of these proposed cuts and cooler heads will prevail.

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Alderman Michael J. Murphy represents the Milwaukee’s 10th aldermanic district.

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