How would President Trump's budget affect the Grand Canyon State?

Posted at 7:24 PM, Mar 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-17 16:48:41-04

One Valley organization described President Trump's budget as "mean." Those words, coming from Sandy Bahr.

"Sometimes people don't react until it hurts them," Bahr said.

She is the director of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club. To Bahr, this is something we will feel fast in our state, especially when it comes to our drier, hotter seasons. 

"We're likely to have more fires," Bahr explained. "This idea that we're going to cut back on the EPA and not really aggressively take action on climate change is also short-sited."

The Environmental Protection Agency was hit with the biggest blow from the Trump Administration's budget. They will lose 30 percent of their funding if the budget is approved. 

President Trump has said before, he believed the agency had too much overreach in Americans' lives. 

Another hit we could see in our state, has to do with affordable housing.

"It was kind of hard," Capri Dean said. "I was in a shelter a couple years back. 

Dean is a mother who was homeless. She was thrilled to find out she was going to get an apartment after the wait list for Section 8 housing opened up for the first time in three years this past September. 

Now, it could be cut. 

ABC15 reached out to the City of Mesa to comment on the proposal, however they said without the budget being approved, it is too early to guess how it would actually effect our state. 

Through a spokesperson, President Trump said the cut comes because he has a desire to get rid of programs that do not work. Plus, he wants to give state and local governments a greater chance to address the problems at home. 

Veterans' Affairs is one of the few agencies that will actually see an increase. Our state home to the scandal that put the department on high alert. 

A whistleblower uncovered hundreds of veterans died waiting for care.

Now, the department will get a 6 percent increase coming to a fiscal year budget of nearly $80 million. 

The Phoenix VA, not releasing a comment, but referred ABC15 to their national spokesperson who said in an email that the budget shows the President's commitment to veterans. They went on to say it ensures that they will receive high-quality healthcare and timely access to benefits and services. 

Another increase would be on the border with roughly $4.5 billion going to fight illegal immigration. 

"We still need more agents because, in the end, you can put all the technology you want out there," explained Art Del Cueto. "You need boots on the ground to make an arrest."

Del Cueto is the president of Local 2544 Border Patrol Union. He oversees 3,000 agents who are represented by the union. 

President Trump's proposal would mean hiring 500 more border patrol agents and more than 1,000 Customs and Enforcement personnel, along with building the wall. 

"You need a mixture of a lot of other things, not just the wall," Del Cueto said. "What I tell people is, someone can still break into my house at night, but I'm still locking that door. So, just because somebody is going to break the law, doesn't mean you ignore it and let 'law-less-ness' continue.

This budget is not officially taking effect yet. Congress will have to review it and then pass it before that would happen.