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 Vermont.
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 Vermont, the NBRC serves six counties. By eliminating the program, President Trump is betraying the 26,006 Vermonters who voted for him and call these counties home:
- Grand Isle
The economic development funds President Trump plans to cut have a significant impact in these six Vermont counties:
- 33 economic development projects funded from 2010 to 2016
- $5,533,223 in grants invested from 2010 to 2016
- 14 projects funded totaling $1,824,000 in 2016
Projects funded by the NBRC in 2016 include:
- $240,000 awarded to Burke Racing, which will allow Burke Mountain to invest in equipment that will enable it to become an official U.S. Ski Team Development Site
- $54,985 granted to the Northeast Organic Farmers of Vermont to assist 45 small- and medium-size dairy farms in the transition to making organic products
- $164,558 to the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board to provide technical services to 26 “Working Lands” businesses, which will create or retain 75 jobs, increase sales, and boost access to capital for businesses
- $212,403 to the town of Crafsbury to install and improve fiber-optic cable lines in Craftsbury, Greensboro, Albany, and Hardwick
- $250,000 to the Forestille Foundation to create more office space for local businesses and restaurants
- $150,000 to the Northeast Vermont Development Association to expand the Vermont Quebec Enterprise to the Northeast Kingdom, thereby spurring local businesses
- $40,000 to the Vermont Employee Ownership Center to assist employee ownership conversions
- $176,665 to Catamount Film and Arts to buy equipment for community festivals in Caledonia, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, and Orleans counties
- $76,667 to the Vermont Department of Public Service and the Northern Forest Center to invest in the Clean Energy Development Fund to help grow Vermont’s modern wood heat sector
- $163,760 to Umbrella Inc. to support economic development projects in the Northeast Kingdom in Caledonia, Essex, and Orleans counties
- $28,667 to Vermont Council on Rural Development to support economic development projects in the Northeast Kingdom in Franklin County
- $167,445 to the Community College of Vermont to invest in workforce development in the manufacturing sector and train workers
- $48,847 to the Lamoille Housing Partnership to install solar panels on homes that are rented to low-income families
- $50,000 to the Lamoille Regional Solid Waste Management District to help extend the life of Vermont’s only landfill in Coventry and help reduce user fees
President Trump’s promise to strengthen the economy for Vermont 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.