Cuts to ARC funds would be blow to eastern KY

Published 11:31 am Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Budget cuts are part of life. Whether they come in your personal life, at work or on the grander scale of government, budget cuts are inevitable.

Some cuts are easier to support and accept than others, though.

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget includes cuts to an organization that promotes economic development in Appalachian communities, including Clark County.

Trump’s proposed budget boosts funding for things like military spending and building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border at the expense of funding federally-financed agencies like the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The ARC covers all or part of the 13 states in Appalachia, including 54 counties in Kentucky encompassing all of eastern and part of south-central Kentucky. The regional economic development agency is a partnership of federal, state and local government.

According to the ARC, 93 counties in Appalachia were considered economically distressed in 2016.

Since it was founded in 1965, the ARC has funneled $23 billion worth of programs and projects to tackle these economic deficits in our region.

It would be a mistake to cut funding to a program that has been vital to the region for more than 50 years. Projects and programs funded by the ARC, “create thousands of new jobs; improve local water and sewer systems; increase school readiness; expand access to health care; assist local communities with strategic planning; and provide technical and managerial assistance to emerging businesses.”

These cuts could have a devastating effect on the region, where many are struggling to find and retain jobs, especially in areas further east where coal mining was once a booming industry.

This is a budget cut we just can’t get behind.