Whitesburg KY

How would budget cuts hit us here?

Here is partial list of programs affected locally by the elimination or reduction of programs in President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget. Congress would still have to approve the budget for these cuts to take effect. In all, more than 60 programs or agencies could be eliminated with many more reduced significantly.

Appropriations measures begin in the House of Representatives, and are then advanced to the Senate.

• Elementary schools — Elimination of the 21st Century afterschool programs, cutting four director positions in the Letcher County School District, and stopping service to 185 children per day.

• Student feeding programs — Elimination of the afterschool feeding program that provides dinner to students who otherwise would not eat at home.

• Colleges — Elimination of the Pell Grant surplus which would ensure the program had money to provide tuition to low income students in years when there is a shortfall in revenue, or an increase in students; elimination of Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, which provides additional educational help to college students; and reduction of the Work Study program for college students by an undefined amount. Approximately 90 percent of students at South East Kentucky Community Technical College and Hazard Community and Technical College receive federal financial aid.

• Senior citizens — Reduction by 16 percent of the Department of Health and Human Services, which includes money for Senior Services. It is not clear how much Senior Services money would be cut, but the Kentucky River Area Development District, which helps provide Senior Services in Letcher County, gets all of its senior money from that program.

• Legal services — Elimination of the legal aid program that provides legal services to people who cannot afford an attorney. Locally, legal aid is provided by such groups as Appalachian Research and Defense and the Appalachian Citizens Law Center.

• Water, sewer, economic development — Elimination of $3 billion from the Community Development Block Grant program, which Letcher County relies on for construction of water and sewer lines, and for economic development programs such as tourism and a possible new shell building at the Gateway Business Park at Jenkins.

• Water and sewer — Elimination of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s water and waste water grant and loan program, which pays for construction and repairs to water and sewer plants and lines.

• Tourism and economic development — Elimination of the Appalachian Regional Commission, which plans and helps pay for highways, water and sewer projects, and other infrastructure and economic development programs, including stabilization and restoration of the Daniel Boone Hotel in Whitesburg.

• Education and community development — Elimination of AmeriCorps, which currently has at least six VISTA members in Letcher County providing drugprevention services for kids, working on clean water and economic development issues, and increasing the capacity of nonprofits to serve the community.

• Radio and television programming — Elimination of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting which provides money to WMMT Radio in Whitesburg, Kentucky Educational Television, and WEKU radio in Richmond, which has a translator in Letcher County.

• Job training and broadband Internet — Eliminates the Economic Development Administration, which in 2015 provided $8.4 million in grants to Kentucky for job training, disaster assistance, public works, planning and technical assistance. The money included $1 million to leverage $300 million for a broadband Internet system currently being built in eastern Kentucky.

• Heating assistance for the poor — Eliminates the Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program which helps low-income residents pay heating bills in winter.

• Job training, community development, housing — Eliminates the Community Services Block Grant program, which LKLP Community Action Agency uses to provide employment, education, nutrition, health, housing and income management services to people who make below 125 percent of the poverty level.

• Arts and education — Eliminates the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities which helps fund such programs as Roadside Theater and Appalshop.

• Science and technology education — Eliminates the NASA Office of Education, which sometimes provides funding to the Challenger Learning Center in Hazard for special projects.

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