Worried that their cities are the big losers in President Bush's budget, the nation's mayors on Friday denounced as "bogus" his plan to shift billions of dollars in federal programs to the states.
"We the mayors of America, Republicans and Democrats, are united that this simply won't work and isn't a good idea," said Bill Althaus, the Republican mayor of York, Pa.The mayors are particularly opposed to the Bush administration's proposal to include the $3.2 billion Community Development Block Grant program among a list of federal projects that would be turned over to the states.
Boston Mayor Ray Flynn, a Democrat and vice president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, also assailed "this bogus White House proposal" at a news conference with other mayors.
The Conference of Mayors' trustees approved an "emergency resolution" lodging their opposition to the proposed swaps. A group of big-city mayors will meet with Budget Director Richard Darman and other White House officials next Thursday to argue against the plan.
Governors were briefed on the plan by Bush and White House officials on Monday, and many came away voicing enthusiasm.
But the reaction has been cool in Congress, where members would lose the ability to appropriate money for projects that are paid for with federal tax dollars.
House Speaker Thomas Foley said the White House had failed to explain the plan in any detail, noting that it occupied a single page in a budget document weighing several pounds.
"If it's just a way to terminate federal programs, I don't think it's a good idea," Foley, D-Wash., said in an interview with The Associated Press.