BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- President Donald Trump’s full budget has not yet been released but elected officials in Erie County told News 4 the blueprint shows major cuts to Western New York programs.
“It’s going to affect every community in Erie County,” said County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
Poloncarz joined Assemblyman Sean Ryan and representatives from Sierra Club, NYSUT-PAC and CWA, for a town hall panel discussion.
About 80 people turned out to the Hamburg Central High School auditorium to ask questions about how the proposed budget will affect WNY.
Poloncarz said it includes eliminating the HEAP program, which helps about 92,000 Erie County families heat their home.
“Not only will we see people being hurt in their homes if HEAP is eliminated but there will be job loss and there will be an impact on our economy as well,” said Poloncarz.
He told News 4 the budget would also significantly reduce funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Community Development Block Grants, which provide a number of services, including transportation for senior citizens.
The President’s proposed budget does call for a $54 billion increase in defense spending.
“Whether you agree with the President’s proposal to increase funding for the military, it shouldn’t be on the backs of all of these important programs that provide a benefit in our own community,” said Poloncarz.
Republican Congressman Chris Collins told News 4 in a statement he does support the increase in defense spending. He also said he will continue to fight to increase funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative as well as the water and wastewater loan and grant program.
Some county residents at the town hall said people should do more to help each other, instead of relying on assistance from the federal government.
“I believe we could have an 80 percent cut across the board,” said Tony Matuszak, from Depew. “We’re going to be fine.”
He attended the meeting with Carrie Christman, also from Depew. She said Americans will need to cut back but doesn’t see the budget cuts in a negative light.
“All I heard were what I would classify as children who have had their federal allowance cut off by daddy Donald,” said Christman. “I just felt well then, what you have to do is do without it.”
Assemblyman Sean Ryan told the crowd to reach out to local members of Congress with questions or concerns.