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Mayors Budget Lobby Day Garners National Press Coverage

By Elena Temple-Webb
December 3, 2012


U.S. Conference of Mayors President Philadelphia Michael A. Nutter, along with a delegation of bipartisan mayors from a cross-section of the country, traveled to Washington (DC) on November 15 to express to Members of Congress the organization’s strong opposition to sequestration cuts and explain the impact cuts would have at the local level, if no compromise is reached. In making their case, several mayors did interviews with national media outlets and below is a snapshot of some of the coverage.

CNN:

“We need a balanced, bipartisan approach to dealing with the issue of cuts, as well as revenues. These are serious maters that can affect cities all across the United States of America and you cannot solely cut your way out of the amount of debt we have.”

– USCM President Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter

National Public Radio:

“The problem with the way that Washington is approaching things is there’s not a whole lot of thought. In many ways the cure is actually worse than the disease. You know, as a Republican, of course I don’t look for handouts, and no mayor looks for a handout from Washington. What we’re finding, though, in this recession is that we’ve sort of been the dumping ground of responsibility. At the end of the day, we have to take care of our citizens. We don’t get to kick it down the road. And in Mesa, for example, with some of these federal programs, they share in that burden.

– USCM Vice President Mesa Mayor Scott Smith

“If Congress and the President agree on nothing. Taxes go up. Spending cuts begin to take effect. For Charleston, as an average city in America, it would be devastating. And we’ve got a [federal] deficit that needs to be reduced over time and we have an economy that is slowly emerging from recession. And if we’re not careful, history tells us that we will slip back into it again, if not even worse. Cuts will be needed. They should be even. They should be thoughtful. They shouldn’t be unnecessarily harmful, and part of it has to be additional revenues. We can’t cut our way out of this problem without doing substantial harm to our nation’s economy as well as substantial harm to people in our cities.”

– USCM Past President Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr.

Associated Press:

“Cities have already been at the fiscal cliff — we’ve cut our budgets, we’ve cut our staffs. We recognize that tough decisions have to be made, but at the same time we have to make sure that we have a seat at the table. As some say in Philadelphia, if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

– USCM President Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter

Fox Business News:

“It’s time to break the gridlock. This is about the fabric of government. What are we going to pay for and what services are we going to get for what we pay? We have to set ground rules for a balanced approach.” – Chicopee (MA) Mayor Michael Bissonnette

National Journal:

“Mayors have been taking a balanced approach, including spending cuts, for years. Washington needs to do the same. But they can’t do it in a way that makes them feel that the job is done by shifting dollars back to local property tax payers.”

– Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak

Governing Magazine:

“If we don’t get this right, and we actually go to sequestration, cities across this nation are going to be in some devastating conditions.”

– Denver Mayor Michael Hancock

“I think it’s very important that we take a long-term, balanced approach to focus on the future of our country. ... Everyone says that they want to get this country going again and put America back to work. … The best way to do that is to make sure we work together and create an environment so that we don’t have impediments to moving our cities forward.”

– Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown

Bloomberg News/BusinessWeek:

“There are so many devastating effects that Baltimore would face because we receive a lot of federal funding. … The hit on the block grants would have an extremely negative impact.”

– Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

“Federal officials’ inability to articulate exactly where the cuts will come from is a great source of anxiety to local officials. Across-the-board reductions would be a meat-cleaver approach, which is not thoughtful and not strategic. … Old'school discussion is ‘everyone takes a haircut.’ This is a head cut.”

– Columbia (SC) Mayor Stephen Benjamin

Time Magazine:

“Cities and metro areas are the economic engines. We are the economy of the United States of America.”

– USCM President Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter

“Congress doesn’t recognize the local impact of sequestration. … Too often, a line-item cut in Washington one year will lead to an expense in a city the years after.”

– Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak