Last 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 Northern Border Regional Commission, or NBRC, which funds economic and community development projects in Maine.
Created in 2008, the Northern Border Regional Commission is a federal-state partnership that funds projects in Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. The Northern Border Regional Commission creates jobs and strengthens the economy in the 36 counties it serves by investing in job training programs and leveraging private sector investments to support infrastructure projects.
The NBRC has already created hundreds of jobs and plans to create 5,000 more jobs in the region over the next five years, which will not happen if President Trump follows through on his plans to cut the commission.
In Maine, the NBRC serves 12 counties. By eliminating the program, President Trump is betraying the 207,722 Mainers who voted for him and call these counties home:
The economic development funds President Trump plans to cut have a significant impact in these 12 Maine counties:
- 26 economic development projects funded from 2010 to 2016
- $5,447,186 in grants invested from 2010 to 2016
- 8 projects funded totaling $1,996,516 in 2016
Projects funded by the NBRC in 2016 include:
- $250,000 awarded to the town of Pittsfield to replace a failing sewer line in order to expand businesses in the SAS Industrial Complex
- $250,000 granted to the Central Maine Community College to renovate and expand its precision manufacturing lab, which will help retain and expand regional precision manufacturing companies and train workers
- $246,186 to the city of Auburn to fund infrastructure projects, including the construction of a new Riverway Road
- $250,000 to the Maine Department of Transportation to upgrade the Sheridan rail bridge
- $250,000 to the Snow Pond Center for the Arts to upgrade infrastructure and construct a new expanded learning center
- $250,000 to the Maine Department of Labor to train workers for a changing economy
- $250,000 to the Presque Isle Regional Airport to construct a new heater hangar and attract business aviation clients
- $250,000 to the Eastern Slope Airport to construct a new aircraft hangar to increase the number of seasonal visitors and outside investors
President Trump’s promise to strengthen the economy for Maine families rings hollow when he aims to eliminate programs, such as the Northern Border Regional Authority, that invest in infrastructure and support workers. It is a troubling sign indicating for whom Trump plans to fight.
Molly Cain is a Senior Researcher at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.