President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget outline would impose deep cuts across federal government. Such a move would be “incredibly harmful” to Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday.
With its deep cuts across the federal government, President Donald Trump’s proposed budget blueprint left state and local officials scrambling to understand the impact on Thursday.
The proposal is an early step in a long budget process, and it’s not clear how firmly Congress would back the president’s priorities.
But if they became law, the cuts would ripple across Washington.
More on the president’s budget proposalPresident Donald Trump’s $1.15 trillion spending plan envisions deep cuts to many government programs including those affecting Washington state.
- Trump budget would withhold money for 7 transit projects in state
- No Miró, no Picasso: How Trump’s proposal to kill NEA would hurt Seattle
- Trump budget could mean major changes in Washington, from housing and schools to military
- UW, Fred Hutch slam Trump’s proposed budget, calling it ‘major step backward’ and ‘indefensible
- Winners and losers on national level in Trump’s first budget plan
- Presidential budgets rarely get approved
The budget could slash funding for after-school programs, affordable housing, homelessness assistance, medical research and Puget Sound cleanup. It would abolish the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, a plan that shocks local arts leaders.
There would be winners, too. The budget would boost military spending — a potential boon to the state. And it appears to increase spending on cleanup of sites such as the Hanford nuclear reservation.
Still, Gov. Jay Inslee and others reacted sharply to the proposal.
The budget includes “incredibly harmful reductions,” Inslee said in a written statement, and “undercuts our ability to keep our people safe and healthy.”
Here are some ways the budget could affect people and programs in Washington.
Housing and community development
The president proposes cutting 18 percent from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and 13 percent from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The budget would eliminate community-development block grants from both of those departments, as well as the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
Local housing authorities that help low-income families could see big cuts in their budgets. About $24 million could disappear from the Seattle Housing Authority’s $180 million annual budget, said Executive Director Andrew Lofton.
King County’s 2017-18 budget assumes about $50 million in federal grants for housing and community development, said David Shurtleff, communications director for the Metropolitan King County Council.
The county could lose $180,000 in annual block grants to support six local shelters for the homeless, said Sherry Hamilton, a King County Department of Community and Human Services spokeswoman. Another $290,000 for the county’s Housing Stability Program, which provides temporary rental assistance, would also disappear.
Also at risk is $8 million in block-grant funding, Shurtleff said. Those grants go to sewer and sidewalk projects, park improvements and Americans with Disabilities Act upgrades, said King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove.
The county’s budget also includes $3.6 million from the federal Home Investment Partnerships Program — another program that would be cut under Trump’s proposal.
That program also funds affordable housing and rental assistance.
The president’s proposal would slash 31 percent from the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget.
Such cuts would reduce a variety of programs, from pesticide regulation to air quality. And they would eliminate a grant program that provided $28 million to help restore Puget Sound during the current fiscal year.
Cuts at the EPA, Interior Department and elsewhere are part of a broader scaling back of environment programs.
Trump’s budget, for example, would likely reduce Interior’s Land and Water Conservation Fund, which helps finance the acquisition of bird habitat in the upper Skagit Valley and migratory feeding stops in Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay, said Gail Gatton, executive director of Washington Audubon.
But Trump’s budget would boost one major — and vital — environmental restoration program in Washington.
The multibillion-dollar cleanup of the Hanford nuclear reservation in Eastern Washington, the biggest such effort in the nation, would be financed out of $6.5 billion marked for Energy Department cleanups nationwide.
Though it is still unclear exactly what would be included in Trump’s budget, the cleanup money appears to represent a significant increase from the current fiscal year’s budget of $6.1 billion.
“The president’s proposed budget increase for defense nuclear cleanup is a great improvement over the last presidential budget request, and gives me reason for optimism,” said Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, an Eastern Washington congressman who has pressed the Trump administration to fund the cleanup.
Veterans and military programs
Spending at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which has a major presence in Washington state, also would rise — by about 6 percent — under Trump’s budget proposal.
Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, a longtime advocate for the VA in Congress and a sharp Trump critic, said the president needs to follow up the funding request with proposals to improve the troubled agency.
“President Trump may think this budget proposal is the end of the story, but our nation’s veterans deserve respect, policy specific and real leadership at the VA,” Murray said.
The budget most heavily favors the Defense Department, with a 9 percent boost that would be expected to step up the already massive military spending in the state. It could also benefit Boeing, a major defense contractor.
According to the state Commerce Department, the military installations in the state and “defense-related” assets rank as the state’s second-largest public employer, with more than 112,000 workers. In fiscal year 2015, military spending in Washington totaled $12.6 billion, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The proposal would cut nearly 20 percent of the National Institutes of Health budget — and likely lead to the loss of millions of research dollars to the area.
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center receives 85 percent of its budget from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or nearly $250 million annually — more NIH grants than any other cancer-research center in the country.
The proposed cuts “are indefensible and would severely impede our progress” toward finding a cure for cancer, Dr. Gary Gilliland, president and director of the center said during a news conference Thursday.
The University of Washington gets nearly $1 billion in federal money annually to research cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, opioid abuse and heart disease, just to name a few. It receives more federal research funding than any other public university in the nation, and is second only to the private Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
The proposed cuts “represent a major step backward for American scientific research and innovation,” University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce said.
In 2016, the UW received $995 million in federal research dollars, the bulk of it — $522 million — from the NIH.
The U.S. Department of Education also would take a hit, with a 13 percent reduction.
While not all the details are known, reductions and eliminations across a wide variety of programs could potentially cost Washington millions of dollars, according to the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
That includes the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which helps provide enrichment for students during nonschool hours, particularly for children in low-performing and high-poverty schools.
Washington would stand to lose about $16.7 million with its elimination.
That program, according to Trump’s budget outline, “lacks strong evidence of meeting its objectives, such as improving student achievement.”