A memo released yesterday by Oakland's Budget Administrator says that the federal government provided roughly $130 million to the city’s coffers this fiscal year — and a lot of it is in jeopardy under President Trump.
Though a full line-item budget from the Trump administration isn’t expected until next month, the President’s “skinny budget” — a draconian proposal that came out in March outlining how he plans to cut $54 billion to make room for a massive increase in defense spending — spells bad news for Oakland.
Coupled with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ crackdown barring all sanctuary cities from applying for Department of Justice grants, Oakland stands to lose tens of millions of dollars for key programs.
This year's $130 million from the feds includes both reoccurring grants that roll over annually, and one-time awards that Oakland reapplies for every year.
Reoccurring federal funds to the city's Housing and Community Development Department and Human Services Department will be among the hardest hit. More than $10.5 million is slated to be cut from those departments, affecting programs that preserve access to affordable housing, provide early childhood development services to low-income families, and deliver support for seniors and adults with disabilities.
The city could also lose the ability to apply for one-time grants, like the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services grant, that provides close to $2 million for new hires to the police department.
Since 2013, Oakland has relied on that grant to hire 55 new officers and it was an important part of Mayor Libby Schaaf’s plan to fully staff OPD at 800 officers by the end of her term. The Department is currently staffed at 754.
Ultimately, it will be up to Congress to decide what parts of the President’s proposal will pass, and its likely that there will be pushback. Sessions’ actions against sanctuary cities are also being challenged in court by multiple city governments, and there are still legal obstacles the Administration will have to overcome before implementing any punitive actions.
Still, Oakland's budget administrator sees cause for concern, and warned that these cuts could have a drastic impact on the city’s operations:
“The cuts proposed by the Trump Administration are not bound by law and are merely a reference for the President’s priorities. There are many steps that will have to take place before any of these cuts are to make it through the appropriations process. However, since this budget includes serious policy directives from the incoming administration, these proposed cuts should not be taken lightly.”