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Trump’s Budget Targets 103,010 Illinoisans Who Voted for Him

Trump’s Budget Targets 103,010 Illinoisans Who Voted for Him

The Delta Regional Authority has created thousands of jobs in the 16 Illinois counties it serves. President Trump wants to eliminate it.

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Illinois farmers harvest their corn crops as the sun sets on October 17, 2016. (AP/Seth Perlman)
Illinois farmers harvest their corn crops as the sun sets on October 17, 2016. (AP/Seth Perlman)

This month, President Donald Trump unveiled his budget proposal, titled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.” Despite its title, the budget’s savage cuts to crucial programs would harm many Americans, especially those who voted for President Trump.

Although he campaigned on promises to create jobs and strengthen the economy in rural areas, President Trump’s budget eliminates the Delta Regional Authority, or DRA, which funds economic development and workforce training programs in Illinois.

Created in 2000, the Delta Regional Authority is an economic development agency that serves Illinois and seven other states in the Mississippi Delta region—Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. The Delta Regional Authority works to strengthen the economy in the 252 counties and parishes it serves by creating jobs and investing in economic development projects, such as infrastructure and workforce development.

In Illinois, the Delta Regional Authority serves 16 counties. By eliminating the program, President Trump is betraying the 103,010 Illinoisans who voted for him and call these counties home:

  • Alexander
  • Franklin
  • Gallatin
  • Hamilton
  • Hardin
  • Jackson
  • Johnson
  • Massac
  • Perry
  • Pope
  • Pulaski
  • Randolph
  • Saline
  • Union
  • White
  • Williamson

The economic development funds Trump plans to cut have had a significant impact in these 16 Illinois counties:

  • 129 economic development projects funded
  • $10,628,582 invested
  • 4,491 jobs created and retained
  • 8,338 workers trained for local jobs
  • 3,175 families with access to clean and safe water

President Trump’s promise to strengthen the economy for Illinois families rings hollow when he aims to gut programs such as the Delta Regional Authority. As Chris Masingill, co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority, said in response to President Trump’s budget: “You cannot advocate for infrastructure development and economic security in rural America without also supporting the mechanisms, such as DRA, that make those projects a reality.”

Molly Cain is a Senior Researcher at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

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Molly Cain

Senior Researcher

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A train heads into Memphis to celebrate the opening of a bridge linking Tennessee and Arkansas over the Mississippi River on October 22, 2016. (mpi34/MediaPunch/IPX)