Tuesday, March 6, 2012

President's Budget - What Are National Organization's Saying?

I am currently perusing websites of the members of the National Consortium on the Coordination of Human Services Transportation with an eye toward responses to and analyses of the Obama Administration's proposed budget for fiscal year 2012. I am especially looking at organizations that are not specifically transportation related to find out their perspectives.

Public Health

Children’s Health Fund
CHF's reaction to the President's proposed budget did not discuss transportation per se. It did discuss access to health care, and praised:
the investment of an additional $300 million to create 25 new health centers nationwide; additional incentives for 2,800 new primary care providers who practice in areas where there is an existing shortage of doctors and high poverty rates; and retaining the majority of funding for the implementation of national health reform.
However, CHF criticized the requested cuts in Medicaid and other publicly-funded health insurance for children, as well as a proposed decreased investment in the Prevention and Public Health Fund, established as part of the new health reform law.

American Public Health Association
APHA responded in a press release to the Administration's budget proposals with disappointment, stating that public health and prevention would be shortchanged.
With today’s proposed $664 million in cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the agency will have seen its budget authority slashed by $1.4 billion since fiscal year 2010, a more than 20 percent reduction. In addition, the Prevention and Public Health Fund established under the Affordable Care Act is slated for additional cuts of more than $4 billion over 10 years. The budget would also divert monies from the fund to backfill cuts to the CDC and other public health agencies. This maneuver not only puts the integrity of the CDC’s budget at risk but violates the fundamental spirit of this historic law. It robs Peter to pay Paul.
State and Local Perspectives

National Association of Counties
NACO's members are feeling the pinch of county budget cutbacks. For federal appropriations, NACO recommends assistance to state and local governments to mitigate further layoffs; investment in state and local infrastructure because it produces private sector jobs; and finding ways to reduce the federal deficit without "shifting costs to counties and their residents, imposing unfunded mandates, or preempting county programs or taxing authority."

National Association of Development Organizations

NADO released a proposed budget explanation that analyzes funding ramifications for rural programs, particularly economic development, and other programs that serve rural areas. It lists which programs would be eliminated, and which would suffer severe reductions. The document also reviews programs by federal departments, including transportation and reauthorization proposals.

Local and Regional Priorities

NADO and NACO joined to present testimony at a Senate hearing in February regarding rural development. Federal support for self-determined priorities and ease of access to federal programs were the major themes.
A criticism of USDA Rural Development is that its investments are not always driven by local and regional priorities. Instead of rural communities and small businesses working regionally on common goals, they often are forced to fit their economic development initiatives into federal priorities and funding stovepipes. I would urge a greater recognition and support of existing regional development strategies, including the EDA CEDS and our region’s Grand Vision and the 3E Initiative, which could assist Rural Development in making sound decisions regarding their investments.
National Conference of State Legislatures
NCSL provides an overview of what the President's budget proposals mean for funding across a broad spectrum of federal programs, including transportation. This is a good document for skimming to find out where the Administration's priorities are on everything from agriculture to transportation.

Equity, Human Services and Health Care

American Public Human Services Association
APHSA posts a list of what the proposed budget would mean for medical and human services programs. It does not include transportation, but is quite detailed about programs targeting vulnerable populations of older adults, children, people with disabilities, and people living in poverty.

PolicyLink has issued the 99% Agenda to explain and respond to President Obama's proposed budget. The equity-oriented organization applauds the proposals to increase transit investment, to award transportation innovation, to develop multimodal corridors, and to enhance livability, foster mobility, and expand transportation choices via the inter-agency Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

People with Disabilities

Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living
Though not billed as related to proposed budgets, APRIL hosted two Capitol Hill briefings on Feb. 23 - one on the House side and the other on the Senate side - with the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Leadership Conference Education Fund, and the American Association of People with Disabilities. The briefing examined civil rights enforcement, accessible transportation, job creation, workforce development, and legislative priorities critical to the disability community.

National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities
As mentioned in the last Express Stop post, NASUAD posted a chart that translates both the President's proposed budget and expected funding in terms of programs that serve senior citizens.

[Editor's Note: Due to the strict limit on the number of characters allowed to label each post, this post will only be labeled under Legislation and Funding, but not under the label for each organization discussed.]

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