We Can’t Afford to Walk Away from Rural America

President Bush's proposed budget for 2009 zeros out funding for 20 important rural development programs. That is the finding of the Center for Rural Affairs recently published Rural Brief.
It’s crucial for the long term health and viability of rural communities that we create opportunities, generate wealth and build assets for individuals, but if funding for rural development keeps being neglected our rural communities will continue to decline. The less we invest now in rural development, the more our rural communities’ infrastructure deteriorates and the more it will cost in the long run.
 
As with previous budgets, the 2009 budget recommends termination of numerous federal rural development and rural asset-building programs.
 
Adoption of the Administration’s 2009 budget would cause total rural development funding to be 72 percent less than its 2003 level.
 
Sen. Tom Harkin was recently quoted in an article by Philip Brasher in The Des Moines Register saying “What good does it do if we keep giving more money to farmers but they don’t have any towns, they don’t have churches, they don’t have hospitals, they don’t have schools, they don’t have water?”
 
Senator Harkin’s analysis is more than accurate - it is a snapshot of what is already happening to our most rural communities.  And given the rapid decline in rural development funding, it’s apparent the federal government is walking away from any commitment to the future of our rural communities and the 60 million people who call rural America home. 
 
To view the entire Rural Brief: http://www.cfra.org/node/1172

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