The Trump Administration released its preliminary Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget numbers on March 16 for all federal agencies, including EPA. The EPA proposal slashes the Agency’s funding by 31% - the biggest cut of any federal department – but also would fully fund the State Revolving Funds (SRFs). Maintaining SRF funding levels represents an important advocacy achievement for NACWA and its members.
The budget proposes funding EPA at $5.7 billion for FY 2018. NACWA and its water sector partners, however, worked hard to ensure the proposal maintains full funding levels for the State Revolving Funds (SRFs) at $2.3 billion – a level that actually includes a modest $4 million increase. The proposal also includes $20 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program.
NACWA has been a strong proponent of water infrastructure funding with the Trump Administration, both during the transition period and since taking office, and is pleased to see that the Association's requests for continued SRF support is reflected in the President's budget proposal.
However, the EPA budget proposal does make significant cuts to other programs of priority importance to NACWA members. The budget would eliminate funding for critical geographic programs such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Chesapeake Bay, and others. The budget also proposes significant cuts to grant funding to states and slashes EPA's research budget, and to key rural programs. These are all cuts to programs that benefit municipal clean water utilities, and NACWA will be working with other partners in the water sector to oppose these funding reductions while also ensuring that SRF funding remains whole.
It is important to note that this proposed budget is just the first step in the budgeting process. The Administration will release a more detailed budget proposal in May, and then the focus will shift to Capitol Hill where Congress has ultimate authority to craft and bring forward a final budget for the President's approval. NACWA will work closely with Congress and the Administration throughout this process and will keep members updated on developments.