Congress continues to move forward with the fiscal year 2013 budget. While not all has been negative news for communities, last week’s vote by the House Appropriations Committee proved otherwise.
The committee voted out the spending bill for the Department of Interior and Environmental Protection Agency and in so doing made significant cuts to the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund programs. Local governments rely on the program to help finance wastewater and drinking water systems projects.
The bill provides $689 million the Clean Water SRF, a $778 million reduction from current year funding and levles. The Drinking Water fund was cut $89 million to $829 million for fiscal year 2013.
Other program reductions were included in the superfund program, brownfields program and land and water conservation fund.
The Senate has yet to take up its own version and the White House has threatened to veto any bill that looks similar to this.
The 2013 budget will continue to become a point of contention through the election as both sides jockey for position amidst a end of the year deadline to address the budget deficit. Members are urged to encourage members of Congress to take a balanced approach to the budget. Be sure to speak wto your representative about the importance of various federal programs such as those mentioned above, and others that you have used to improve the quality of living in your community.
Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Strategic Initiatives and Federal Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or by e-mail