President Donald Trump’s 2021 budget proposal paints a crystal-clear picture of his his vision for the country. That vision starts with a plethora of funding cuts that would push millions deeper into poverty, worsen economic inequality and racial disparities, and increase the number of Americans who are uninsured.
Economic opportunity for Mainers begins with things like a solid education, access to affordable health care, and secure housing. Federal funds are a major source of state revenue for those investments and others that build thriving communities and a strong economy.
Trump’s budget threatens that federal aid to state and local governments, jeopardizing a major portion of overall state spending in Maine. Roughly 32 percent of state spending in Maine is funded by federal grants, according to analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Federal funds paid for roughly $2.8 billion of investments in our state during the 2018 fiscal year.
President Trump’s 2021 budget slashes funding for health care, including those funds designated to the states. His plan includes a $1 trillion cut in funding for Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act over the next decade, according to the Center.
Health care funding comprises the largest share of federal funds disbursed to the states every year, and Maine is no exception. In state fiscal year 2017, federal Medicaid funding in Maine was roughly $1.7 billion, according to analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. That was before the state successfully implemented Medicaid expansion, which unlocked an additional $800 million in federal funds.
Trump’s budget also proposes cuts in non-defense discretionary spending, the portion of the budget that includes most other federal grants to states, including those that help fund schools, child care, and housing assistance.
While Congress has no obligation to consider Trump’s budget proposal, Mainers should still take his plan seriously. It is an action plan for the policies he will pursue not only through the budget process but through executive action, regulatory proposals, and the courts. It also shows the path the president would follow with a future Congress open to such proposals.
Maine’s elected officials across the political spectrum should reject proposals that would slash funding for investments in our state’s families, communities, and economy.
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