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U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Helps Reverse Deep Budget Cuts to Rural Development

President Trump’s proposed budget cuts would have hurt small towns and rural communities in Wisconsin 

USDA Rural Development invested over $556 million in rural Wisconsin in 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, worked to reverse deep cuts to rural development programs proposed by the Trump Administration.

President Trump issued a budget proposal in May that called for drastic cuts to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development. Senator Baldwin sent a letter to President Trump that month expressing strong concerns with these damaging cuts.

Senator Baldwin then worked across party lines in the Senate Appropriations Committee and successfully fought to reverse these cuts and include strong investments for rural America in the FY2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill.

“Across Wisconsin, our rural communities have put these investments to work on small business job creation, rebuilding water infrastructure, and strengthening health care, education and public safety,” said Senator Baldwin. “I fought against these drastic cuts because we can’t leave our rural communities behind, we need to help them get ahead. I’m proud that our bipartisan effort has saved investments that help rural communities in Wisconsin.”

In Wisconsin, USDA Rural Development program invested $556,267,665 in over 8,500 projects in 2016. This includes strong investments for clean drinking water and water infrastructure; job creation investments in rural small businesses; and health care, education, and public safety in rural Wisconsin.

Clean Water in Rural Wisconsin

Last year alone, USDA Rural Development supported drinking water and wastewater systems in dozens of Wisconsin comminutes. Wisconsin received $57,318,095 in water and wastewater loan and grant funding.

These investments supported clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage to households and businesses in small towns. 85% of projects funded by USDA water programs in 2016 went to communities with fewer than 5,000 residents. These communities may otherwise be unable to access the credit they need to keep their water clean and safe.

Jobs and Small Businesses in Rural Wisconsin

In 2016, this funding invested over $28 million dollars in Wisconsin’s rural businesses. Through nearly 90 different projects, USDA Rural Development helped start new businesses, create jobs, increase production and provide stability in our Made In Wisconsin rural manufacturing economy.

In Wisconsin, small rural businesses with less than 50 employees have been supported by these investments with targeted technical assistance and training to develop or expand their operations. Agricultural businesses have been provided loans to increase their energy independence with renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program has supported start-ups in Wisconsin, helping fight Wisconsin’s annual low rankings in start-up activity.

Health Care, Education and Public Safety in Rural Wisconsin

USDA Rural Development also invests in Wisconsin’s telehealth and distance learning, which are critical for our rural communities. For example, Lakeshore Technical College used funds to upgrade distance learning – including medical training – at five college campuses and 30 rural high schools across Wisconsin.

Rural Wisconsin towns have also used investments to strengthen local community facilities to improve education, health care and public safety. In 2016, 25 projects to improve schools, fire stations and police stations received over $18 million from the USDA for much needed improvements. In addition to emergency response, the investments can support rural hospitals and clinics.

For examples and stories of how Rural Development investments have strengthened your local community, contact