Mayor Martin J. Walsh slammed President Trump’s proposed spending plan on Thursday, saying it would devastate after-school programs, Meals on Wheels for seniors, and home-heating aid for 20,000 low-income residents.
“This is not a responsible budget,” the mayor said at a City Hall press conference with community activists and officials. “This is a reckless budget and it’s a heartless budget.”
Walsh, a Democrat, focused much of his ire on the Republican president’s plan to eliminate the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program, which funds Meals on Wheels, as well as popular housing assistance programs.
Boston received $24 million from the program in the most recent fiscal year, Walsh said.
The money, he said, allows the city help first-time home-buyers purchase and fix up dilapidated properties. It also funds city efforts to clean up polluted sites, develop vacant lots, and provide after-school programs and job-training classes for young people. And it supports the city’s 20 Main Streets organizations, which are focused on revitalizing neighborhood commercial districts beyond the downtown core.
Walsh also blasted Trump for seeking to eliminate the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which he said helps 20,000 Boston residents afford their heating bills during the frigid winter months.
“Make no mistake: a budget like this will bring pain,” Walsh said. “We cannot replace the revenue here. No city can.”
Walsh said he was glad that Trump proposed an increase in spending on veterans’ services and some addiction treatment programs.
But he said he was focused on working with the state’s all-Democratic congregational delegation to try to stop the budget from passing the Republican-controlled Congress.
The mayor brushed aside a question about what cuts the city might have to make if Trump’s budget were passed into law.
“I’m not going to answer that question yet because this fight is long from over,” he said.