Thursday, January 20, 2011
By Nicholas Ballasy CNS.com
(CNSNews.com) – Making a case for continued support of the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said federal tax dollars should be used to fund projects in Philadelphia because “all Americans in various communities across the country have needs.”
Nutter spoke to CNSNews.com after a press conference on Capitol Hill with mayors from around the county and members of Congress including Rep. Barney Frank, former chairman of the Financial Services Committee to urge continued funding of the $4.45 billion Housing and Urban Development CDBG program.
“Philadelphia taxpayers pay federal taxes. Pennsylvanians pay federal taxes so these are dollars coming back into Philadelphia, into Pennsylvania some of which is a portion of the federal tax bill that individuals in our city and in our state make and then it gets spread across the county but more specifically when you’re talking about affordable housing in cities that is done primarily with funds from the community development block grant,” Nutter told CNSNews.com at the Capitol.
Nutter provided examples of areas federal dollars have helped Philadelphia.
“When you’re talking about housing counseling dollars that have helped to stem mortgage foreclosures in Philadelphia and other places across the country, CDBG is right there,” he said.
“When you talk about support for homeless populations and other vulnerable communities, CDBG is the key to that and it’s also an investment that leverages millions of dollars from whether the philanthropic sector, the for profit sector, banks and other investors with a little bit of CDBG dollars you can make a whole lot of investment go a long, long way.”
CNSNews.com asked Nutter why a family in Iowa, for example, making the median household income of $50,000 should fund projects in Philadelphia with their federal tax dollars under the CDBG program.
“There are probably some Community Bloc Grant funds going in to Iowa. I know Mayor Frank Cownie certainly is a big, big supporter of CDBG, the Mayor of De Moines. You know, we’re one United States of America and all Americans in various communities across the country have needs; that’s one of the great things about our country, we look out for each other,” he told CNSNews.com.
“So, it’s not just taxpayers in Iowa paying for something somewhere else. Their own dollars are coming back to invest in their communities as well. It’s a great program.”