Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It's That Time of Year Again...Budget!

It's Valentines Day and my favorite time of year...budget fights.  I have always felt it was Democracy as it's best. There's threats, tears, indignant members of Congress accusing each other of polarizing the country! Of course who can forget the annual all time favorite, "we need to trim the fat off the budget". If I have heard it once I have heard it a thousand times.  Thank goodness for CSPAN the best TV on the air. We can watch our elected officials from each side threaten the end of Democracy or the ruin of our country as we know it if we dont follow their plan.  It always reminded me of my college debates where everything ended in a nuclear war (guess what era I was in college!). As per usual the EDA is on the hit list of the Republicans.  This year I have decided it would be useful to reprint the talking points sent out by one of our (economic development) well known trade organizations NADO, the National Association of Development Organizations.   Not only do I think the memo is useful, if you chose to enter the fight, but it has a good factual history and good information about the EDA.  Thank you NADO!


To:          NADO Members and Friends
Re:         House Amendment to Restore EDA’s FY2011 Budget
Starting on Tuesday, February 15, the U.S. House will begin its debate on the FY2011 Continuing Resolution (CR).  The House Republican spending plan cuts almost $100 billion out of the $462 billion non-security discretionary federal budget.  Among the most severe cuts is a proposed $80 million reduction in the FY2011 budget for the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).  This represents a 32 percent reduction in the agency’s infrastructure, economic adjustment assistance and other job creation programs.
Congressman Mike Michaud (D-ME) is coordinating the introduction of an amendment to restore EDA’s budget to the FY2010 level.  The funding offset will most likely by a corresponding reduction in the Census Bureau’s periodic census budget.  Under the House rules, any proposed spending increase must be offset with an equal reduction. Even with the proposed offset, the new House rules still make it virtually impossible to introduce a non-cutting amendment.
In addition, we are anticipating amendments by members of the House Republican Study Committee to further reduce or even eliminate all funding for EDA.
1.       Immediately CALL your U.S. House members today. Please urge your House members to support the Michaud amendment to restore the FY2011 budget for the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).  In addition, please urge your House members to OPPOSE any amendments to further reduce or eliminate all funding for EDA.
2.       You can reach any member of the U.S. House by calling the U.S. House of Representatives switchboard operator at (202) 224-3121.
3.       Please be sure to let the NADO legislative staff know when you contact your House members via email (dcox@nado.org).
·         By law, EDA projects require a 50 percent local cost share and must leverage significant private sector investments.  Most importantly, all EDA project investments must result in the creation and retention of high quality jobs. 
·         From 2004 to 2008, EDA funded projects directly led to the creation of approximately 200,000 high quality private sector jobs.  The most recent analysis released by Grant Thornton and ASR Analytics in September 2008 found that EDA’s public works program generates “between 2.2 and 5 jobs per $10,000 in incremental EDA funding, at a cost per job of between $2,001 and $4,611.”  These are highly impressive rates of return for any public economic development agency, whether at federal, state or local level.
·         Unfortunately, there have been unfounded and out‐of‐date attacks on EDA in recent weeks.  The agency’s critics have been using obsolete data from the late 1970s and early 1980s. This old rhetoric from nearly 30 years ago is outdated and doesn’t reflect today’s reality with the agency.  In fact, Republican leaders in the House and Senate worked with the Democratic leadership in 1998 to pass a major EDA reform bill that addressed previous concerns with the agency.
·         EDA awards grants on a competitive basis and based on regional comprehensive economic development strategies developed by local officials, private sector leaders and community representatives. In fact, EDA is one of the few federal agencies with no congressional project earmarks in recent appropriations bills.
·         At a time when our local governments, businesses and communities across the nation are struggling to overcome intensifying global competition, replace aging public infrastructure and gain access to business development capital, Congress should be focusing its efforts on increasing funding for EDA’s core job creation programs.
For more information, contact NADO Associate Legislative Director Deborah Cox at 202.624.8590 or dcox@nado.org.

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