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 Louisiana.
Created in 2000, the Delta Regional Authority is an economic development agency that serves Louisiana and seven other states in the Mississippi Delta region—Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, 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 Louisiana, the Delta Regional Authority serves 56 parishes. By eliminating the program, President Trump is betraying the 828,637 Louisianians who voted for him and call these parishes home:
- East Baton Rouge
- East Carroll
- East Feliciana
- Jefferson Davis
- Pointe Coupee
- Red River
- John the Baptist
- West Baton Rouge
- West Carroll
- West Feliciana
The economic development funds Trump plans to cut have had a significant impact in these 56 Louisiana parishes:
- 185 economic development projects funded
- $23,282,915 invested
- 10,014 jobs created and retained
- 24,876 families with access to clean and safe water
President Trump’s promise to strengthen the economy for Louisiana 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.