Cities and Federal Block Grants

Cities Struggle as U.S. Slashes Block Grants Program

It is no secret that these are hard times for cities, with tax collections down, state aid dwindling, unemployment high and foreclosures pitting many blocks. So, as he sat in his office here, Mayor Ed Pawlowski of Allentown echoed the question mayors around the country are asking: Why has Washington cut one of the main federal programs for cities by a quarter in the last couple of years?

via Cities Struggle as U.S. Slashes Block Grants Program – (December 21, 2011)

Like the California Redevelopment Agency program, federal block grant money is both valued and criticized for its flexibility. It can be used to pay for city needs from afterschool programs to building inspections. These funds, which represent (after the devolution of nearly every other federal program for cities) a key component of federal urban policy today. These cuts, even if small in absolute terms, will be part of the fabric of restructuring the relationship between city, state, and federal resources.