Local governments are facing the worst economic environment in recent history, and we are struggling to meet the needs of our community. I recently read a report entitled “The Alternative to Earmarks” that details what happened in fiscal year 2007 when Congress did not include earmarks in the annual appropriations bills. Bottom line – local governments suffered.
The report reviews a unique set of federal programs that are historically earmarked by Congress and highlights the unequal distribution of that funding when the federal agencies made the funding decisions. In some cases funding was only awarded to a select few; in others, the agencies absorbed the earmarked funding and never distributed it to any local governments. In even more cases, local governments were not even allowed to apply for the funding that they typically receive through earmarks.
As you know, the short-term economic outlook for local governments is grim. We need the federal government as a partner now more than ever. Please do not let the consequences of FY 2007 repeat themselves – we cannot afford to be cut off from these valuable programs that help us increase public safety, provide safe and adequate public infrastructure, and improve essential community programs.