Heinrich: 10 Reasons President Trump’s Budget Is Terrible For New Mexico

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, following the release of the Trump administration’s preliminary 2018 budget proposal, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) outlined the severe impact it would have on New Mexico.

“President Trump’s proposed budget would be devastating for New Mexico,” said Senator Heinrich. “Investments in infrastructure, scientific research, and our rural jobs would take a huge hit and the state would see a drastic cut to funding for public lands, education and health programs. Budgets should reflect our core values and principles, but what Trump has proposed is out of touch with New Mexicans and a clear sign that he is not committed to the success of hard working families and our rural communities.”

Senator Heinrich outlines below 10 of the reasons why President Trump’s budget would cripple New Mexico’s economy and devastate working families:

1) Rural and Small Towns:

Eliminates funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program, which supports a broad range of rural water infrastructure, urban-renewal, and affordable housing projects in communities across New Mexico.

Eliminates the USDA Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program, which provides funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage to households and businesses in rural areas.

Reduces staffing in USDA’s Service Center Agencies. There are many service centers across New Mexico that provide access to the services provided by the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Rural Development agencies.

Cuts funding for the Payments In lieu of Taxes (PILT) program. Local governments use PILT funding to provide police, fire protection, emergency response, road maintenance and other crucial services to residents.

2) Energy:

Massive cuts to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Office of Nuclear Energy, the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, and the Fossil Energy Research and Development program.

Eliminates the Weatherization Assistance Program and the State Energy Program. The R&D cuts will impact wind, solar, geothermal research by New Mexico’s National Labs and universities.

3) Security:

Reduces the Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) program and eliminates TSA grants to State and local jurisdictions, a program intended to incentivize lo­cal law enforcement patrols. Senator Heinrich led the effort to expand the number of VIPR teams from the current 31 to as many as 60, to enhance the security presence in pre-screening airport areas and other transportation facilities, especially in non-secure "soft" target areas at airports like check-in and baggage claim areas. The Senator’s measure also updated federal security programs to provide active shooter training for local law enforcement.

4) Education:

Slashes the Education Department by $9 billion in part by eliminating Striving Readers, Teacher Quality Partnerships, Impact Aid Support payments for Federal Property, and the International Education programs, while giving an additional $1.4 billion to a program that help parents enroll their children in private schools.

Eliminates the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, the only federal program dedicated to afterschool as well as summer programs. Nearly 9,000 New Mexican students participate in programs supported by this grant.

5) Health:

Cuts $6 billion from the National Institutes of Health. Eliminates the Community Services Block Grant, which is a $715 million anti-poverty program. Eliminates $403 million in health professions and nursing training programs.

6) Infrastructure:

Terminates federal support for Amtrak’s long distance train services, such as the Southwest Chief. Senator Heinrich fought for federal funding for the Southwest Chief Route Advancement and Improvement Project to continue essential upgrades to Amtrak’s Southwest Chief line. The Southwest Chief could have been rerouted or abandoned entirely — a major economic loss to New Mexico rural communities that depend on the service.

Eliminates funding for the Essential Air Service (EAS) program. Carlsbad (Cavern City Air Terminal), Clovis Municipal Airport, and the Silver City - Grant County Airport rely on critical EAS funding to operate.

Eliminates funding for the TIGER discretionary grant program. Due to a great need for infrastructure investments nationally, there has been significant demand for the TIGER grants since the program's authorization in 2009. In 2013, Taos Pueblo received a $3.2 million dollar grant to support the Taos Pueblo Veterans Highway. In 2015, the Pueblo of Laguna received a $1 million grant to help complete a network of bike and pedestrian routes and the Southwest Chief Route Advancement and Improvement Project received $15 million to continue essential upgrades to Amtrak’s Southwest Chief line.

7) Public Lands:

Reduces funding for wildland fire suppression, returning to a budget model that forces a practice known as “fire borrowing,” which is when the costs of fighting fires exceed the regular fire budget, the difference must be made up by transferring funds from other forest health and restoration programs. In the past, fire borrowing delayed a grant to Santa Clara, Ohkay Owingeh, and Nambe pueblos to help them repair watersheds that supply their drinking and agricultural water. The Forest Service postponed the Moya-Oso Project in the Santa Fe National Forest — a collaborative project with New Mexico Game & Fish to reduce vegetation that could fuel future fires. A fire planning and training program for young adults in the White Peak area in Mora and Colfax counties lost its funding.

Near-elimination of America’s most successful conservation program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which has been used to protect public lands in New Mexico, including the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument and the Gila. The $120 million reduction below sequester-level LWCF investments will likely translate to at least a 75 percent cut to the program.

8) Service:

Eliminates AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps members serve thousands of nonprofit and faith-based organizations in rural and urban communities throughout the nation. In the last year alone, 700 AmeriCorps members provided intensive, results-driven service to meet education, environmental, health, economic, and other pressing needs in communities across New Mexico. Senator Heinrich is a staunch supporter of national service programs. He is the first AmeriCorps alum to serve in the United States Senate and a member of the National Service Congressional Caucus.

9) Science:

Eliminates $900 million from the Department of Energy’s Office of Science for high-priority basic science and energy research and development. This will have an impact on New Mexico’s National Labs and universities.

10) Art & Culture:

Eliminates the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. These organizations play a vital role in New Mexico’s vibrant art and cultural economy. Federal investments help leverage state, local, and private funding to support arts organizations, educational institutions, museums, libraries and public broadcasting affiliates.

Eliminates funding for public TV and radio stations, including local PBS and NPR stations across New Mexico.