The President’s Budget: A Blueprint for a More Equitable Future

14 Feb 2012 |

Statement from Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO of PolicyLink, on President Obama’s proposed budget for FY 2013

In his State of the Union address, President Obama laid out a solid vision for pushing America into a more equitable and inclusive future, a future in which the stumbling blocks to fairness are removed for low-income people and communities of color. His proposed budget for FY 2013, released on Monday, makes good on his promise to level the playing field and invest in America’s neighborhoods to give every American the opportunity to succeed.

We are heartened to see a targeted focus on job creation, education, infrastructure, workforce training, and fiscal reform—key priorities of our Equity Agenda for the 99%. While we must be vigilant to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable communities do not shoulder an unfair burden in the President’s goal to reduce spending, we are pleased to see major proposed investments in programs and policies for communities hit first and worst by the recession and unfair economic practices, including:

  • $12.5 billion Pathways Back to Work Fund, which will support summer and year-round jobs for low-income youth, and will help connect the long-term unemployed and low-income adults to subsidized employment and work-based training opportunities;
  • $8 billion to support community college partnerships with businesses and improve access to job training;
  • $50 billion to establish the National Infrastructure Bank to direct federal resources for infrastructure to projects that demonstrate the most merit and may be difficult to fund under the current patchwork of federal programs, which will create jobs in low-income communities where some projects take place;
  • $50 billion for highway, transit, rail, and airport projects, which will increase employment in communities where the projects are taking place;
  • $1 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund to provide communities with resources to build, preserve, and rehabilitate affordable low-income housing; and
  • Support for the DREAM Act to provide a path to citizenship for students excelling in American colleges and universities, which would cut the deficit by $2.2 billion over 10 years.

We are also excited to see a renewed commitment to programs and policies advancing equity in communities across the country, including:

  • $100 million for Sustainable Communities to develop comprehensive regional and local housing and transportation plans that result in sustainable development, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and increased transit-accessible housing;
  • $400 million to expand access to healthy food and to support the Healthy Food Financing Initiative;
  • $100 million for Promise Neighborhoods to continue to improve college-going rates by combining a rigorous K-12 education with a full network of supportive services in an entire neighborhood; and
  • $150 million for Choice Neighborhoods to continue transformative investments in high-poverty neighborhoods where distressed HUD-assisted public and privately owned housing is located.

We truly believe that equity is the superior growth model for the nation. By 2042, a majority of Americans will be people of color. These key investments in low-income communities and communities of color are investments in our collective future. We urge Congress to fully support these programs so that everyone gets a fair chance to participate and prosper.

Angela Glover Blackwell

Founder and CEO