Today, Wednesday, May 9th, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and her South Florida colleague Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, will host a meeting between City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, City of Miami Commissioners Willy Gort and Francis Suarez with Congressman Tom Latham, Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee.
The purpose of this important meeting is to let Chairman Latham know the priority that Ros-Lehtinen, Diaz-Balart and the city of Miami leaders place on the South Florida Congressional Delegation request to the Subcommittee that language be included in the appropriations bill to increase the percentage of allocated funds municipalities can spend on social services for lower income residents.
Ros-Lehtinen introduced legislation that gives more flexibility to cash strapped cities to use CDBG funds to assure that important social services are not cut and this legislation is making its way through the committee process.
Ros-Lehtinen's bill and subsequent request to the appropriations subcommittee would provide communities with greater flexibility to use funds from CDBG for public services. It does not increase funding or change the overall formula for the CDBG programs, but rather it increases the CDBG public service percentage expenditure for participating communities from 15 to 25 percent.
Said Ros-Lehtinen, "The bad economy, the weak housing market and less government revenues are creating the perfect storm for our cities causing them to cut back on important social services. Our request to Chairman Latham is simple: please allow cities greater flexibility in how they spend their CDBG funds in their public services accounts. We are not asking for more money, just wider discretion so the poor and the less fortunate in our communities don't suffer further pain because of our economic downturn."