NACo Voices Federal Budget Deficit Concerns
The National Association of Counties (NACo) has sent letters to
President Obama and Congressional leaders voicing deep concern
that federal budget deficit reduction talks will focus too much
on reductions to domestic, discretionary spending programs that
will affect the American people.
The letters, dated February 3, outline four key points counties are urging the President and Congress to consider while addressing the deficit:
- The budget deficit cannot be resolved by only cutting domestic, non-military discretionary programs;
- Federal assistance to state and local governments will help mitigate further layoffs;
- Federal investment in state and local infrastructure produces private sector jobs; and
- Deficit reduction should not be accomplished by shifting costs to counties, imposing unfunded mandates, or pre-empting county programs or taxing authority.
“When a recession occurs or the economy falters and there is high
unemployment, services at the county level are needed most,”
wrote NACo President Glen Whitley and Executive Director Larry
Naake. “Historically, there is a greater need for social
services, health care, counseling, job training and local
economic development during times like we are facing now.
Domestic, discretionary programs are critical to the ability of
counties to carry out their responsibilities as service providers
for both the federal and state governments.”
In the letters, NACo reiterated its bedrock position that county governments are partners with the Congress, states and the federal government in providing important programs and services to the American people. The association supports maintaining federal financial assistance for county programs at the 2010 fiscal year levels.
“We are working hard, making significant cuts, instituting reforms, and being creative in facing the worst fiscal crisis since the Great Depression,” Whitley and Naake wrote. “Counties will participate in addressing the challenges our nation is facing and expect the federal government and Congress to do the same without drastically hurting the people we all serve.”
Whitley, County Judge, Tarrant County, Texas, said he will bring forward a NACo policy resolution calling for Congress to consider “alternatives to control the rising budget deficit” during NACo’s Legislative Conference, March 5-9 in Washington, D.C. NACo’s Board of Directors is expected to adopt the policy resolution on Monday, March 7.