February 20, 2020 — U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01) and Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien visited Harvest Kitchen in Pawtucket to talk about the devastating impact that funding cuts in President Trump’s budget would have for small businesses and communities like Pawtucket.
“President Trump’s budget is bad for small business, bad for workers, and bad for Rhode Island,” Cicilline said. “His proposed elimination of the HOME Investment Partnership Program and Community Development Block Grants alone would cost our state $23 million. These federal investments are important to revitalization efforts in cities and towns across Rhode Island, and I’ll continue to fight to ensure that we get the funds we need to continue making our state an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.”
“The Community Development Block Grant provides Pawtucket and other low to moderate income communities with the opportunity to perform both everyday programs offered to our residents and larger transformative projects, such as Festival Pier, that shape our cities for years to come,” said Mayor Grebien. “I want to thank the Congressman Cicilline for his leadership in working to keep these much needed federal funds in our community.”
Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) are a dynamic tool for communities to make improvements to public facilities, critical infrastructure, affordable housing facilities, economic development projects, and public services. HOME program funds help states and local governments refurbish or build affordable housing for rent or home ownership. Both programs are catalysts for additional private and public investment. For every dollar in CDBG investment, approximately four dollars in private and public dollars are leveraged, and every dollar in HOME funds leverages another six dollars in private and public resources. The City of Pawtucket received more than $2 million in CDBG and HOME funds last year alone.
The building that is now home to Harvest Kitchen sat vacant for decades until it was refurbished with the assistance of more than one million dollars in HOME funds. Now that the building is open, Harvest Kitchen also uses CDBG public service activity funding to operate a culinary job training program for teenage youth involved with the RI Department of Children, Youth, and Families.
“Harvest Kitchen has been operating at 2 Bayley Street in Pawtucket since the summer of 2016 and has served over 100 youth,” said Harvest Kitchen Program Director Jennifer Scott. “We are building community by empowering youth and providing them with a strong foundation for a successful future. The CDBG grant provides funding that is essential for the continued success of the Harvest Kitchen program.”
In addition to eliminating funding for community development programs like CDBG and the HOME program, the President’s budget also proposes a number of cuts that are bad for working folks in Rhode Island. Not only does he request an extension of expiring provisions of his 2017 tax cut for corporations and the top 1 percent of Americans, he also expects taxpayers to foot the bill for $2 billion toward the construction of his ineffective border wall.
To pay for these reckless policies, President Trump suggests:
- Cutting Social Security by $24 billion;
- Backtracking on his promise to protect Medicaid and Medicare by cutting more than $900 billion from Medicaid, $500 billion from Medicare, and another $200 billion from other health programs;
- Limiting Rhode Island’s and other states’ ability to fight the devastating impacts of climate change by cutting $2.4 billion in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and slashing another $2.1 billion in clean energy investments at the Department of Energy;
- Making college less affordable for many families by slashing $170 billion to student loan programs over the next ten years;
- Hurting students and teachers by cutting discretionary resources from the Department of Education by $5.6 billion;
- And slashing the Department of Transportation’s discretionary funding budget by 13 percent, severely limiting necessary improvements to roads, bridges, schools, ports, and water systems.