Statement From The U.S. Conference Of Mayors CEO & Executive Director Tom Cochran On President Obama's FY 2015 Budget

Mar 04, 2014, 19:12 ET from The U.S. Conference of Mayors

WASHINGTON, March 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran today issued the following statement on President Obama's proposed FY 2015 Federal Budget:

"We are pleased President Obama's budget has included significant investments in advanced manufacturing, community policing, early childhood education, the Earned Income Tax Credit and highway and transit funding – all of which help residents who live in America's cities and their metro areas which account for 90 percent of nation's wage and salary income, nearly 86 percent of all jobs, and are where the majority of people live."  

"We are baffled, however, as to why the Administration has cut the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), which since 1974 remains the most targeted and flexible stream of federal dollars allocated directly to cities. CDBG have been used by cities across the nation to help in our recovery from the worst recession since the Great Depression. Further, CDBG funds are used to leverage private dollars for economic development."

"We are also very concerned that the President's plan again proposes a 28 percent cap on tax-exempt municipal bond interest. These municipal bonds have been used for 100 years, since 1913, to build as much as three-quarters of the nation's key infrastructure – including transit, highways and bridges, schools, hospitals, fire and police stations, housing, airports, electric power generators and water treatment facilities." 

"We continue to oppose the President's plan proposing a 28 percent cap on tax-exempt bond interest. This cap would mean a $173 billion loss of infrastructure funding over the next decade. Today there is no new legislation funding for America's infrastructure. Special infrastructure projects and earmarks are gone. And current highway and transit funding is flat. Our major infrastructure funding, $1.65 trillion, comes from the tax-exempt bonds. As the nation recovers from the great recession, now is not the time to mess with our bonds."

"More than 60 national organizations have joined our DON'T MESS WITH OUR BONDS COALITION to resist this measure that would make investments in our schools, highways, bridges and the like more expensive and more difficult – most importantly to the detriment of local taxpayers of ALL incomes. We will not stand idly by while the very underpinning of our ability to improve our local communities is being threatened – especially at a time when jobs are scarce in many metro areas and the physical state of public works requires overdue maintenance and rebuilding."

The United States Conference of Mayors is the official non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are nearly 1,400 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. The primary roles of the Conference are to promote the development of effective national urban/suburban policy; strengthen federal-city relationships; ensure that federal policy meets urban needs; provide mayors with leadership and management tools; and create a forum in which mayors can share ideas and information.

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SOURCE The U.S. Conference of Mayors