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State Lawmaker Urges Congress to Fully Fund Program that Assists Counties and Municipalities
September 12, 2013
HARRISBURG- Our speaker is Senator Jim Brewster of Allegheny County, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Urban Affairs & Housing Committee, who’s urging Congress to break its gridlock and fully fund the Community Development Block Grant program in the upcoming federal budget year which begins October 1st.

Senator Brewster, the former mayor of McKeesport, says the program provides federal funds to counties and municipalities for housing development projects demolition of blighted properties, businesses expansion and infrastructure improvement.

“Funding from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program has been essential to areas across Pennsylvania for nearly 40 years,” Senator Brewster said. “To take it away now would be devastating.”

The House of Representatives this summer approved cutting the program’s budget by 47 percent, from $3.15 billion to $1.67 billion, and this is not the first time the CDBG program’s funding has been slashed in recent years.

Senator Brewster is praising U. S. Senator Bob Casey for his efforts to prevent the budget cut which could adversely affect many communities throughout Pennsylvania but says the House of Representatives needs to get on board with a program that’s been working well for 40 for communities.

“Hundreds of communities in Pennsylvania receive funds from this program, including many in Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties,”

Senator Brewster said. “The grant returns taxpayer money to local economies, and without it, many municipalities wouldn’t be able to make ends meet.”

CDBG program funds are directed to municipalities so they can decide on a local level how to spend the money within the program guidelines. “These funds are not gifts to the municipalities,”

Brewster said. “The citizens are getting a portion of their taxes back in the form of these grants, and cutting the program would have catastrophic consequences across the entire state of Pennsylvania.”

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