Rural America is the backbone of our great Country. It is where our ancestral roots began, it is where we look to find our food, it is where urban centers flock to on long weekends, and it is where many of us live, work and raise our families today.
Since 1936, The Wooten Company has focused our efforts on infrastructure in Rural America, and we have long viewed the federal government as one of our strongest partners in looking out for the health and welfare of these communities. Communities where tax bases often rely on less than 5,000 residents, and where many of those families survive below the poverty line.
Announced in early May, President Trump outlined his “America First” Fiscal Year 2018 budget. Under this plan, the Administration has proposed eliminating many programs that are essential resources for Rural America. These resources include the Under Secretary for Rural Development at USDA (the only sub-cabinet position focused exclusively on assisting low-income rural and farming communities) and the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program of the USDA (the financing life-line for rural infrastructure needs). Such eliminations are in addition to dramatic cuts to rural development programs that will severely impact people from economically distressed rural communities.
To put it in numbers, our firm alone has been able to improve the safety and cleanliness of water and sewer infrastructure in more than 30 North Carolina communities where ratepayers simply cannot afford to stomach the rates necessary to maintain this infrastructure, due in a very large part to USDA Rural Development staff and programs.
The Wooten Company, alongside thousands of rural communities throughout the country, is concerned that without this critical financing source, our hometowns will not be able to provide the resources essential for healthy families and economic development.
These vital tools protect and enhance economic health and vitality. USDA has been our partner for decades and we must protect the institution that it is and the role it plays in our hometowns. We stand beside our clients and neighbors in insisting that the USDA remain supported by the Trump Administration. Removing this invaluable asset will negatively impact the families of Rural America, the very people looking for help the most.
Over our 80 years we have worked with communities to leverage hundreds of millions of dollars in USDA funds. More importantly, these funds have allowed for matching other resources including Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, Clean Water State Revolving Fund, Rural Economic Development, Clean Water Management Trust Fund and Community Development Block Grants. Every dollar of support taken away from these communities is amplified across every resource currently available to them.
The Fiscal Year 2018 budget is not an “America First” proposal, and The Wooten Company is standing united with Rural America as we work tirelessly with representatives at both the State and Federal levels to ensure it receives the support it deserves.