The Trump administration is proposing a cut in homeless assistance funding next year, frustrating advocates who say the crisis in Sacramento and other cities is worsening. The White House budget plan for fiscal 2021, which begins Oct. 1, proposes $2.773 billion for homeless assistance grants, slightly less than the current year. The administration also wants to cut funding for affordable housing programs as well as Community Development Block Grants, which help revive and improve neighborhoods.
UN’s 75th Anniversary Shadowed By Right-Wing Nationalism, Widespread Authoritarianism And Budgetary Cuts
And civil society organizations (CSOs), who were mostly disappointed with the results, are now gearing themselves for two upcoming key climate summit meetings: COP25 in Santiago, Chile in December and COP26 in Glasgow, UK in late 2020, along with the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Women’s Conference scheduled to take place in September 2020 in New York. But perhaps the most politically-significant event in 2020 will be the 75th anniversary of the United Nations which will take place amidst continued threats against multilateral institutions, rising right-wing nationalism, growing authoritarianism and widespread disinformation.
Trump tax cuts and Trump’s budget will exacerbate U.S. budget deficits and debt and cause the central bank to raise interest rates even faster and higher. Lies and misrepresentation of facts have become the hallmark of U.S. politics in recent years more than ever before. Not just lies of commission by U.S. President Donald Trump and his crew, but lies of omission by the mainstream media as well. In Trump’s recent package of tax cuts for corporations, investors and millionaires, the lie is that the total cuts amount to US$1.5 trillion — when the actual amount is more than US$5 trillion and likely even higher. And in his most recent announcement of budget deficits the amounts admitted are barely half of the actual deficits — and consequent rise in U.S. national debt — that will occur. Even his US$1.5 trillion so-called infrastructure spending plan, that Trump promised during his 2016 election campaign, and then throughout 2017, amounts to only US$200 billion.
By Steve Grumbine. It has long been known that our electoral system and methods of voting are corrupt, untrustworthy, and easily manipulated by less than savvy politicians, state actors, and hackers alike. The answers to many of these issues is the same answer that we would need to push for any progressive reforms to take place in the United States: namely, we need enlightened, fiery, peaceful, and committed activists to propel a movement and ensure that the people rise, face their oppressors, and unify to demand that their needs be met. What is not as well-known, however, is how a movement, the government, and taxes work together to bring about massive changes in programs, new spending, and the always scary “National Debt” .
By Sharon Parrott for CBPP - Many Republican policymakers are already talking about using the same fast-track process (“budget reconciliation”) next year to push large cuts in entitlement programs as they plan to use this year to push the tax cuts. Reconciliation bills can’t be filibustered, and they require only a simple majority to pass the Senate, unlike most legislation that requires 60 Senate votes. Roll Call reports that it “interviewed half a dozen House Budget Committee members, as well as a few other fiscal hawks in the GOP conference, and they all said that they anticipate mandatory spending cuts [i.e., cuts in entitlement programs] being a priority for the fiscal 2019 budget reconciliation process.” Indeed, some Republican lawmakers weren’t shy about their two-step strategy. “We dream those big dreams here,” Budget Committee member Rob Woodall said. “I’ll take half of that dream in tax reform, and then I’ll come back next spring for the other half.” Budget Committee Chair Diane Black similarly promised “some real attention on [deficit reduction] next year,” based on “the acknowledgement of our leadership,” Roll Call reports. Congressional Republicans could have chosen to write a single bill with both tax cuts and the program cuts (or tax increases) to pay for them.
By Jim Small and Evan Wyloge for Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting - PHOENIX – Teachers who marched on the Capitol this past week in support of doubling the salary boost that lawmakers were considering went home empty handed, as Republican lawmakers backed a budget proposal that grants them a two-percent increase over the next two years, saying there simply wasn’t money available. The cost of doing so would have been an additional $34 million per year in the first year and $68 million in the second, a tiny fraction of the $9.8 billion spending plan approved May 5. But that figure is dwarfed by how much tax revenue the state doesn’t collect each year: In fiscal year 2016, state law allowed $13.7 billion in taxes to go uncollected through a litany of exemptions, deductions, allowances, exclusions or credits. And that number is likely to grow by another $1-to-2 billion once individual income tax deductions are tallied. According to data compiled by the Arizona Department of Revenue, more than half of all state taxes haven’t been collected for at least the past ten years. Called “tax expenditures,” they amount to $136.5 billion since fiscal year 2007 – roughly equivalent to sum of state budgets spanning the past 15 years.
By Joe Sexton for ProPublica - The fiscal 2018 price for President Trump’s border wall is in: $2.6 billion. That’s a cost to U.S. taxpayers, not a cost many people any longer think will be picked up by the Mexican government. As first installments go, it’s a pretty big number. Indeed, its size can be appreciated in one powerful way by setting it against some of the many budget cuts Trump proposed this week. One year of spending on a border wall is the equal of, well, the federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting plus the $231 million given to the country’s libraries and museums plus the $366 million that goes to legal help for the poor.
By David Shepardson for Reuters. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump is proposing to shift oversight of the U.S. air traffic control from the federal government to an independent group, according to budget documents released on Thursday. Trump, who called the U.S. air traffic control system “obsolete” in a meeting with airline executives last month, is proposing $16.2 billion for the Department of Transportation’s discretionary budget for fiscal year 2018, a reduction of 13 percent. Some Transportation Department budget items are paid through the highway gas tax fund. Privatization advocates argue that spinning off air traffic control into a non-government entity would allow for a more efficient system and rapid, cost-effective improvements of technology, in part by avoiding the government procurement process. Opponents, including some airlines, say the U.S. system is so large that privatization would not save money, and would drive up ticket costs and could create a national security risk.
By Staff of Tele Sur - Puerto Rico has US$70 billion in total debt, a 45 percent poverty rate and unemployment more than twice the U.S. average. Thousands of students from the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras approved a 48-hour strike inside the university Wednesday to protest against the massive budget cuts announced by the government last Thursday. About 3,500 students gathered at 7 a.m. as a General Assembly in several amphitheaters against the US$300 million budget cuts ordered by the U.S. Financial Control Board. The vote for the strike concluded the session, with 2,788 in favor of a strike and 91 against, while the first resolution approved a better inclusion of the transgender and transsexual community in the various services provided by the university.
By Myra Young for Talk Poverty - You don’t know me. You have never met me, or answered any of my calls. But you have power and influence over my life—and my children’s well-being—and that scares me. So Senator Toomey, let me introduce myself: My name is Myra Young. I’m a mother, an advocate, and I live in poverty. I work hard to take care of my family. For the last 22 years I worked as a certified nursing assistant, but I still lived in poverty and needed government assistance to put food on the table and to keep my kids healthy. Two months ago, the company I worked for closed and I was laid off. Now without my job, my struggle is even more difficult. I only receive $33 a month in food stamps—barely enough to get my family through one healthy meal. My kids need fruit and vegetables, but I simply cannot afford them. Last week, my 10-year-old son asked, “Mom, why do you cry so much?”
By Brynne Keith-Jennings for Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. United States - Across the country, food banks and other organizations that serve the needy are preparing for long lines as childless adults begin losing SNAP (formerly food stamps) benefits due to the return in over 20 states of a three-month time limit for able-bodied adults. Federal law limits adults aged 18-49 who aren’t raising minor children to three months of SNAP out of every three years unless they’re working at least 20 hours a week or participating in a job training program at least 20 hours a week. More than half a million people will lose SNAP over the course of the year due to the time limit. The time limit is “going to increase hunger among some of the most vulnerable Mississippians,” says Matt Williams of the Mississippi Center for Justice.
By Stephanie Lulay for DNA Info - NEAR WEST SIDE — Parents, students and teachers will stage walk-ins at two high-profile CPS schools Wednesday. From 7:15-7:45 a.m. Feb. 17, community members will stage a walk-in at Whitney Young Magnet High School, 211 S. Laflin St., and from 7:30-7:45 a.m. Wednesday atAndrew Jackson Language Academy, 1340 W. Harrison St. The walk-ins, two of dozens of walk-ins the Chicago Teachers Union is organizing, aim to protest the latest $120 million in CPS budget cuts, fight for a fair teacher contract and call on CPS officials to find longterm funding solutions.
Dozens of Memphis police and fire employees and their families and friends gathered in a protest outside Memphis City Hall Tuesday against what they said were unfair cuts to their benefits. Tents, placards, and huge signs could be found in front of City Hall Tuesday. So could a swarm of public safety supporters milling around in the heat on foot or in camp chairs. The atmosphere was even festive despite the hard facts that brought the group together and despite the handful of police cruisers parked across Civic Plaza watching the crowd. Many in the crowd wore shirts that read: “MPD, MFD - Negatively Affected.” Placards read: “”Stop Fraud” and “We Risk Our Lives, You Take Away Our Livelihoods.” One sign stuck in the ground had photos of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, key members of his administration, and several city council members (who had voted for a budget that included cuts to employee health care benefits) that read: “Shame On You!” Those cuts mean more money will have to come from the pockets of city employees and many retired employees to pay their health insurance premiums and more.
A budget is a moral document. Through it, we can measure a state’s values and its vision for the common good. In North Carolina, we toast ourselves as a place “where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great.” But there is no greatness in our current budget proposals. The draft budgets pushed by Speaker Thom Tillis, Senate Leader Phil Berger and their allies deepen the flood of extremist policies that they unleashed into law last summer. I am no lonely voice crying in the wilderness here. Only 18 percent of North Carolinians approve of the work our state legislators are carrying out this June. This short session, the Forward Together Moral Movement called upon our legislators to repeal huge tax cuts for the wealthy that hurt the most vulnerable among us. Those harmed by these policies – the sick without Medicaid, working families without the Earned Income Tax Credit – spoke for themselves. But the extremists look away. They veil their immoral choices behind the rhetoric of economic necessity. There simply isn’t enough to go around, they say.