Poor In Chicago And Illinois Targeted In Trump Budget Cuts
President Donald Trump's budget proposal for the coming fiscal year targets programs that he argues duplicate other government efforts or have not been proven to be effective.
While the spending outline called for broad reductions in non-defense spending, it is not yet clear how much of that belt-tightening would affect Illinois, Chicago and the suburbs. In some cases, however, Trump called for the outright elimination of some categories of domestic spending, making the potential local impact easier to gauge.
Some big-ticket items Trump proposes to do away with are aimed at fighting urban poverty and providing financial assistance to low income families to pay heating bills. Others on the chopping block would appear to complement pet Trump initiatives including programs aimed at improving the manufacturing climate and assisting local law enforcement in cracking down on undocumented residents.
Many of the cuts now being pushed by the president mirror a wish-list supported by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington advocacy group that has long pushed for major reductions in the size and scope of the federal government.
With both Chicago and the state mired in their own fiscal crises, it is unlikely that either body could find resources to replace lost federal funds should Trump’s budget blueprint become law.
A Trump budget cut sampler for Illinois and Chicago
21ST CENTURY COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTERS
The program funds after-school centers that offer academic, artistic and cultural programming for low-income students. Illinois is expected to receive $45 million this fiscal year — a more than 10 percent reduction over previous years. The goal is to improve student academic achievement, attendance and high school graduation. Historically, about half of the funds have paid for centers in Chicago.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT
The Community Development Block Grant program was created in the 1970s to combat poverty in cities. Chicago receives about $72 million a year, a decline from a 2010 peak of about $91 million. In Chicago, grants pay for an array of programs that tackle homelessness, workforce training and public health. In total, cities and municipalities in Illinois receive nearly $150 million through this program.
MANUFACTURING EXTENSION PARTNERSHIP
This year, the program funneled $5 million to help fund the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center. A portion of a $1.2 million grant also pays for fellows housed at the Chicago-based Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, an initiative launched under the Obama Administration to improve the country’s manufacturing competitiveness.
LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
This program helps people of modest means pay their winter energy bills. The size of the one-time benefit is determined by factors including the person's income and household size. In fiscal 2016, Illinois received an allocation of at least $166 million.
STATE CRIMINAL ALIEN ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
The program reimburses state and local law enforcement agencies for the cost of housing unauthorized immigrants. The Illinois Department of Corrections and several counties across the state received a total of more than $6 million in fiscal 2015. Cook County alone received $1.4 million.