A series of recent news articles suggest that the Trump Administration is proposing to slash the EPA budget by up to 25% next year, which puts key environmental and funding programs squarely in the cross-hairs – including the State Revolving Loan Funds (SRFs). While the exact budget numbers are not yet known, NACWA stands ready to aggressively defend spending on EPA programs like the SRFs that provide critical funding for communities around the nation, for much-needed clean water infrastructure investment.
Although reports differ as to whether state grant programs and the SRFs will be included in the planned cuts, there is a general consensus that the Administration’s forthcoming Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget proposal will cut EPA funding by about one quarter. Given the dynamics of how the budgeting process works, NACWA believes it is unlikely the Agency could absorb this level of cuts without seeing a significant reduction in SRF levels. It is also likely these cuts would impact other important EPA programs that benefit Association members. NACWA has long pushed backed against cuts to the SRFs in past budget cycles and is prepared to do so again this year if necessary.
While NACWA strongly supports President Trump’s call for great overall infrastructure investment, this must include increased annual funding for the SRFs (the President called for a tripling of the SRFs as a candidate), not just a promise for more funding as part of an as-yet-undetermined future infrastructure bill. Top line budget numbers for FY 2018 are expected to be released by the White House in mid-March, which will provide a better sense of exactly how EPA’s budget may be impacted. NACWA staff will closely monitor developments around this issue and will keep the membership updated.