Fiscal Year 2013 seems like a lifetime ago in the world of Washington, D.C. budgeting. As we encountered the sequestration, and then reviewed the President's budget and the figures to come separately from the House and Senate, and finally the enacted Omnibus, we discovered an interesting thing about the oft-targeted, most popular HUD programs for local government. They did pretty well.
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All but three popular programs saw funding increases over the levels set during sequestration. While the sequestration effort reduced the above spending programs by approximately 5 percent, the Omnibus returned the total funding levels to nearly 107 percent, wiping out the sequestration cuts and actually raising spending over the original Fiscal Year 2013 level in some cases.
While most programs did well, popular programs like the Community Development Fund, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and the Choice Neighborhood Initiative did see funding slashed. In all, more than $100 million was cut from the post-sequestration budget of these three programs. When comparing the Omnibus amount for each to the original Fiscal Year 2013 funding level, nearly $450 million has been removed.
So, what does the back and forth of spending mean? For cities receiving multiple HUD funding streams, it means a breather from the painful sequestration cuts. And in a larger sense, it might signal that Congress and the White House are willing to compromise around valuable, longstanding programs with wide impact in local communities. Only future budget rounds will tell if this is a stable direction forward or if future drastic course alternations are in store.