New Haven has a lot at stake in this year’s presidential election.
In addition to $12 million from a federal education grant, the city has received $26,477,616 in federal funding so far this year that has been used to support housing, transportation and security throughout the city. But with the possibility of a new party controlling the White House and the U.S. Senate following this November’s election, New Haven politicians said this funding may be in jeopardy.
“Under Republican control of either the White House or the United States Congress, it is entirely possible that New Haven, along with other urban areas, would see a drastic reduction in federal funds,” said U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, whose congressional district includes New Haven, in a Thursday email to the News. “The Republican budget proposal would slash education funding by almost 20 percent, resources for health care by 20 percent and result in cuts to job training, infrastructure and biomedical research, all of which are critical to New Haven.”
New Haven’s federal grants have supported a range of projects from engineering capital projects to housing for those suffering from AIDS. One source of federal funding arrives annually in the form of Community Development Block Grants, which are used to support city and neighborhood development by building affordable housing, constructing public facilities and funding the city’s nonprofit organizations. New Haven received $3,688,534 — an amount that has been shrinking in recent years — from block grants in 2012, which came directly from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. But federal funding could be in trouble, and many New Haven politicians said the results of next week’s election could affect the amount of federal grant money that the Elm City receives.
“The election of Governor Romney and a Republican Congress would be devastating for cities like New Haven,” Connecticut State Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney said. “I think that everything we rely upon would likely be in jeopardy with a Republican president.”
In 2009, New Haven received federal money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. While city organizations received money directly from the Act itself — such as the $706,765 sent to New Haven Home Recovery Inc., a housing and support organization in the city — New Haven also received stimulus money that passed through the state before reaching the Elm City.
“The untold story of the Recovery Act is that a third of it went toward state municipal aid, and that money is drying up,” Ward 7 Alderman Doug Hausladen ’04 said. “Our budget in New Haven has seen better days.”
According to Hausladen, a large percentage of the city’s budget comes from the state, which he said has been “tremendously helped” by the Recovery Act. However, not everyone believes that the state has made good budgetary decisions.
“Malloy and the Democrats continue to concoct a variety of formulas for creating red ink, but the ingredients always stay the same: massive government spending, jaw-dropping borrowing, failure to pay off bond obligations and their insatiable appetite for new revenues that take the forms of taxes, fees, business permits, licenses and anything else that helps them dip their hand into our taxpayers’ pockets,” Connecticut Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr. said in a June statement.
Romney has said he believes reducing government spending is in the best interest of the country, calling fiscal responsibility a “moral imperative.” But Hausladen said that he would be “fearful” of what Republicans would do in terms of infrastructure investment in cities like New Haven. The federal government has funded several transportations projects in the city, including a grant supporting Downtown Crossing development, the I-95 renovations and an airport capital project that Hausladen said will soon add flights from Tweed airport to Chicago.
New Haven has also been the beneficiary of federal education funding, including a five-year $53.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education received by the city in September for the continued success of its school reform effort. But as the funding is spread out over five years, only $12 million in the first year is guaranteed, Looney said, leaving the rest of the grant open to changes from the federal government. Vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s budget proposal would cut funding to education and programs like Head Start and Pell Grants by nearly 20 percent.
In 2012, New Haven received $1,600,000 of federal funding from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.