How Trump's budget could affect Kern County

How Trump's Budget Affects Kern County

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Trump Administration's 1.1 trillion dollar spending plan has prompted some California officials to vow to "fight" it.

Lilli Parker, executive director of the Bakersfield Senior Center was concerned when she heard details of President Trump's new budget. 

"It makes me feel very angry when I hear cuts or elimination can take place," said Parker.

The proposed budget or blueprint for 2018, will see an increase in spending in areas as Defense and Veterans Affairs, but many other agencies could see major cuts, including the State Department and Health and Human Services. 

A proposed 13% cut in Housing and Urban Development could hurt programs such as Meals on Wheels in senior centers like Parker's, she says, causing adverse effects in Bakersfield.

"Hospitalization is going to increase, nursing homes are going to increase, just by the fact that those programs can be eliminated or even decreased," said Parker.

Stephen Pelz, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of the County of Kern, explains that programs such as the HOME Investment Partnerships Program which was specifically identified to be cut could leave low-income people out on the street. 

"If that funding's eliminated you'll see a substantial reduction in the number of affordable housing units developed here, which means less affordable housing usually means more homeless persons and more people really struggling to make ends meet," said Pelz.

Friday afternoon, City Manager Alan Tandy sent his weekly memo to the mayor and city council addressing the potential cuts. 

The memo laid out concerns with this budget specifically mentioning the potential elimination of the office of community-oriented policing, or cops, for which Bakersfield has received 7 million dollars in grant funding since 2003. That program used to hire additional officers.

Tandy also mentioned the proposal to terminate community development block grants and HOME programs, for which the city receives 5 million dollars annually.

Beatris Sanders, Executive Director of the Kern County Farm Bureau said that while the Department of Agriculture could see a 21% budget cut, it's too early for the county ag community to be worried.

"Overall Kern County agriculture is not as concerned right now with this blueprint...we are going to wait and see what the final is," said Sanders.

All of the local leaders we spoke with emphasized this proposal is just a blueprint and that as congress makes changes in the coming months, they will have a clearer picture of how their offices will be affected.



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