Local officials in Arizona are worried that proposed spending cuts would devastate a variety of programs and projects.
But local officials are alarmed that the administration is targeting the Community Development Block Grant and the HOME Investment Partnerships programs for elimination. They also worry that federal money earmarked for helping local law-enforcement could dry up. Federal assistance for Arizonans struggling to keep up-to-date with their utility bills could go away. And if the budget ax falls on public broadcasting, a Hopi radio station would be imperiled.
The effect on Arizona of proposed budget cuts on other federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Veterans Affairs is unclear, although it’s safe to assume there would an impact. In some cases, agency spokespeople declined to comment on the budget proposal to The Arizona Republic.
The good news for the critics is that the Constitution gives the power of the purse to Congress, which is unlikely to go along with Trump on many of his cost-savings ideas.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who says Trump’s defense hikes are insufficient to rebuild the military, already flatly has predicted the Trump budget cannot pass in the Senate.
“It’s his (Trump’s) way of blowing a kiss to fiscal conservatives in the party, but the domestic-spending cuts are largely dead on arrival,” said John J. “Jack” Pitney, Jr., a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College in southern California.
Besides McCain, only one other member of Arizona’s congressional delegation offered a quick public statement on the president’s proposed spending plans.
“As it stands, the president’s budget proposal would devastate rural communities and negatively impact families across Arizona. Critical domestic programs for working families are on the chopping block,” said Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz. “Cuts to nutrition assistance programs, community development grants, and counterterrorism funding are irresponsible and shortsighted.”
Apart from specific programs, there are generalized effects the proposed budget would have in Arizona.
There are, for example, about 55,000 federal employees in Arizona. It’s unclear whether the president’s plan would lead to wholesale layoffs or rely more on surgical trimming of expenses. But cutting employment by 5 percent would mean the loss of nearly 3,000 jobs in the state.
Meanwhile, one cut Trump promised is left untouched: As a candidate, he said he would within eight years eliminate — or at least prune — the national debt, which, at nearly $20 trillion, he calls a “crisis.” His first budget wouldn’t cut it at all.