A recurring theme throughout the 2010 midterm elections was the spending of the federal government and how to address the $13.73 trillion national deficit. As the election result rolled in, it became increasingly evident that change was afoot as Congressional and committee control and membership altered. Now with over 60 new members to Congress, local governments throughout the nation are concerned that in an effort to reduce government spending, Congress may tighten funds on domestic programs. The National Association of Counties (NACo), an organization representing county interests to the U.S. Congress, recently published an article on how the decisions made by the incoming Congress could fiscally impact counties. NACo reports:
“Defending the programs that directly affect county constituents, small businesses and other partners in our nation’s counties is essential,” said Ed Rosado, NACo legislative Affairs director.
“To make that case, it is important to inform the incoming Congress of the effects any reductions would have on the people who are served by the programs counties run, and alert them to tax increases counties will need to implement in order to continue providing the services their residents require,” he added.
On the proverbial “chopping block” are funding for secure rural schools, payments in lieu of taxes, community and economic development, workforce investment, justice assistance programs, airports, highway, rail-transit, bridge and water infrastructure development, broadband deployment, rural development, health safety net responsibilities, social welfare programs and others. Rumors are in the 5 percent to 20 percent cut range, which still would only produce a sliver of what would be needed to make a dent in America’s debt problems.
Counties will be challenged to do more with less, reform what exists and meet the needs of constituents in creative new ways. NACo’s Legislative Department is analyzing these changes and how they may affect the issues it advocates for. As of this writing, committee leadership and assignments have not yet occurred.
NACo provides a further breakdown of the committee composition and the possible implications this has for local governments. Click here to read.