Higgins Says Funding Bill Bad for WNY
Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) voted against the FY 2011 Continuing Budget Resolution (H.R. 1), which makes severe cuts to dozens of programs that directly impact the economic stability of Western New York.
“Living within our financial means starts with making responsible cuts, not threatening job creation, innovation, education and infrastructure projects that could cripple significant programs for Western New York,” said Congressman Higgins. “This irresponsible spending bill simply goes too far making extreme cuts to the very programs that are helping to turn our economy around.”
Programs slated for cuts in the House GOP Continuing Resolution include:
- Cutting $1.6 billion to National Institutes of Health, slowing the advancement of next generation of cures and treatments to disease and imposing a significant impact on local institutions including: Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, the University at Buffalo (UB) and firms along the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
- Reducing $1.4 billion in science and energy research
- Cutting Community Health Centers by $1 billion (46%) which impacts Northwest Buffalo Community Health Center and threatens plans for a new health center in Chautauqua County.
- Cutting $3 billion in Community Development Block Grant funding for communities like the City of Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Lackawanna, Dunkirk, and Jamestown
- Cutting $80 million from the Economic Development Administration which partners with distressed communities such as Buffalo and Western New York to foster job creation and economic growth.
- Eliminating funding for the HUD Brownfields Redevelopment Program. The South Buffalo Brownfield Opportunity Area contains 1,800 acres of underutilized land alone.
- Eliminating funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which will have a significant impact on jobs and operations at WNED and WBFO
- Cutting $102.5 million for Youthbuild including Job Corp initiatives affecting local organizations such as Chautauqua Home Rehabilitation and Improvement Corporation (CHRIC) and Cassadaga Job Corp.
- Cutting $1.1 billion for Head Start, kicking 200,000 out of the program including 11,882 children and families in New York State. Each year, over 50,000 New York children and families participate in Head Start.
- Reducing Pell Grant funding by $466.2 million for New York State, effectively eliminating financial support for 713 recipients and cutting $863 per student. This cuts the grant from the current maximum of $5,550 to $4,705.
- Cutting 60.49 million in Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies in New York State, affecting over 57,000 students and potentially laying off 467 workers
- Cutting $36.94 million from the IDEA/special education program in NY alone, impacting 22,665 students and transferring these costs over to the states and school districts.
Transportation and Water Infrastructure
- Cutting $225 million for Great Lakes Restoration, affecting an industry that generates jobs for over one million people, with a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy
- Cutting the State Revolving Loan Funds by 27% which supports local water infrastructure projects like the Hamburg Drain
- Cutting $234 million to improve our nation’s air traffic control system
- Rescinding $2.6 billion in high-speed rail funds and intercity passenger rail grants for communities across the country, including $160 million in New York State
- Slashing funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund to the lowest level in its 45-year history
- Cutting $557 million from the Safe Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund
- Eliminating the Community-Oriented Policy Services (COPS) Hiring Program which will result in 1,330 fewer law enforcement officers hired or rehired. The bill also cuts $200 million from the COPS grant program, which police departments in both Erie and Chautauqua Counties have benefited from, including the City of Buffalo and the City of Lackawanna.
- Eliminating the Department of Homeland Security Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Services (SAFER) program which will result in 2,400 fewer firefighters on the job. This program has delivered over $1.5 million dollars to fire departments in Congressman Higgins’ district over the last 5 years.
- Cutting $90 million in Assistance to the Firefighters Grant Program which provides training and equipment to fire stations. This program has delivered over $13.164 million dollars to fire departments in Congressman Higgins’ district over the last 5 years.
- Imposing a significant reduction in border security funding with $350 million cut in border security infrastructure and technology. A recent Government Accountability Office report on the Northern Border recommended the need for increased resources to secure our border.
- Cutting $88 million from Food Safety and Inspection Service and $241 million from the Food and Drug Administration
Veterans, Seniors, and Disabled
- Eliminating $75 million program that provides assistance to homeless veterans. In January 2009, more than 75,000 veterans were homeless and over the course of the year nearly twice that many (136,000) spent at least one night in a homeless shelter. National Alliance to End Homelessness estimates New York State has 9,594 homeless veterans.
- Reducing $1.7 billion from Social Security Administration funding which includes cuts to the already depleted operating budget. These additional cuts could result in SSA shutting down its offices, affecting the 139,349 recipients in Congressman Higgins’ district and over 540,000 recipients in Western New York.
- Cutting Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) funding by almost $400 million. This funding is directed to low-income families and seniors on a fixed income to help them heat their homes. During the 2009-2010 HEAP season, the program provided 203,237 benefits totaling $51.9 million in assistance to residents in Erie County and 31,818 benefits totaling $9.1 million in Chautauqua County.
- Eliminating funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program which provides weather insulation in homes of low income, elderly and disabled people. In New York State alone, WAP assisted almost 15,000 low-income families, seniors and persons with disabilities last year. These households save, on average, between $600 and $800 in annual energy costs.
Local Historic Preservation
- Eliminating funding for the Save America’s Treasures program which has been instrumental in assisting historic properties across the region, including the Darwin Martin House, Graycliff, Buffalo Historical Society, and the Allan Herschell Carousel Factory.