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President’s proposed budget could have big impact on children, elderly and working poor

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(NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Newschannel 3 is continuing to dig into President Donald Trump’s proposed budget.

We’re looking at how some of the massive cuts within that budget could affect West Michigan’s children, the elderly, and the working poor.

The manager at the City of Kalamazoo’s Office of Community Development calls the cuts “disheartening.” She says if those cuts go through, many low-income programs would not only be impacted, they could very likely be eliminated.

Let’s start with the big picture. The core of President Trump’s 2018 budget looks like this. A $54 billion boost in defense spending offset by widespread cuts to other departments.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development stands to lose more than $6 billion, savings that come, in part, by wiping out the Community Development Block Grant program, which helps fund community programs for the poor.

“It is just a slashing that we’ve never seen before in my 20 some years of working in this field,” said Dorla Bonner, Community Development Manager in Kalamazoo.

Bonner says she’s still trying to wrap her mind around it. She says Kalamazoo stands to lose nearly $2 million.

“We do repairs for senior citizens, we do emergency repairs, those things would be eliminated,” said Bonner. “The argument that there’s no results and that there aren’t outcomes, that argument is tough because that means that person who was assisted didn’t matter.”

The Department of Health and Human Services budget would also be slashed, with entire programs eliminated, including an energy assistance program for low-income families, we’re looking at a $1 million hit in Kalamazoo County alone.

“These are families that are having to make decision on a month-to-month basis, do I pay the heat bill or do I get groceries? That’s how dire a lot of these families are,” said Jim Rutherford, Director of the Kalamazoo Health Department. “If the initiative is to ‘Make America Great,’ we’re only as great as the most vulnerable people that we have in this country.”

You can look at President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal yourself by clicking here.

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