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 New Hampshire.
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 New Hampshire, the NBRC serves four counties. By eliminating the program, President Trump is betraying the 52,392 New Hampshirites who voted for him and call these counties home:
The economic development funds President Trump plans to cut have a significant impact in these four New Hampshire counties:
- 30 economic development projects funded from 2010 to 2016
- $5,125,328 in grants invested from 2010 to 2016
- 13 projects funded totaling $1,800,000 in 2016
Projects funded by the NBRC in 2016 include:
- $50,000 awarded to the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development to address New Hampshire’s most pressing economic needs
- $250,000 granted to the Eastern Slope Airport to construct a new aircraft hangar to gain new visitors and investors
- $250,000 to the town of Northumberland to construct water and sewage infrastructure at a mill site in an industrial park for businesses
- $250,000 to the town of Littleton to construct part of the river district revitalization project
- $93,662 to the Grafton Regional Development Corporation to invest in improvements at the Enterprise Center in Plymouth that will enable the center to incubate more startup businesses
- $100,000 to the New England Ski Museum to renovate the North Conway Community Center to enable the museum to host 38,000 more visitors
- $250,000 to the Ashland Water and Sewer Department to improve sewer infrastructure and revitalize Ashland’s struggling mill area
- $150,000 to the River Valley Community College to renovate the Lebanon Academic Center in downtown Lebanon
- $250,000 to the city of Berlin to invest in recreational infrastructure, including a trail and river walk next to the Androscoggin River. This investment will create more tourism opportunities in Berlin, which will spur economic development.
- $154,912 to the University of New Hampshire to invest in the NH Broadband Mapping and Planning Program to improve mapping and analysis in New Hampshire and create technical assistance workshops
- $250,000 to Soldier On to create 52 units of affordable, permanent housing for veterans in Plymouth
- $250,000 to Tri-County Community Action Program for the Friendship House Project, a residential program that helps low-income individuals affected by substance misuse
- $42,500 to Friends of Wentworth Park to complete the restoration of a historic covered bridge over the Baker River Falls, which will improve tourism in the community
President Trump’s promise to strengthen the economy for New Hampshire 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.