EDA Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Request At-A-Glance
The U.S. Department of Commerce released details today about the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request to Congress, which includes $273 million in funding for the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). This request is a $23 million increase from the FY 2015 enacted levels.
The President’s Budget reflects EDA’s priority of supporting and empowering regions and communities across the country. Specifically, the President’s Budget enables EDA to more effectively help communities develop and implement their own plans for increased job creation, enhanced business investment, and improved quality of life for their citizens.
Increases in staffing capacity, along with a stronger emphasis on EDA’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) process, will pave the way for EDA to serve as an effective integrator of federal economic development resources. The President’s Budget expands on the federal government’s approach to planning, positioning EDA as the government’s premier resource for communities engaged in regional planning. Communities that collaborate on a regional basis are better poised to take advantage of opportunities to grow, attract businesses and jobs, and create a better life for their citizens.
EDA will also assume a central role in coordinating the Partnerships for Workforce and Economic Revitalization Plus (POWER+) Plan, an interagency initiative to target assistance through competitively awarded grants to partnerships anchored in communities impacted by changes in the power sector and coal industry. These funds will help communities to:
- diversify their economies
- create good jobs in existing or new industries
- attract new sources of job-creating investment
Increased resources will enhance EDA’s capacity to support the bottom-up efforts of the communities we serve. These additional resources will result in stronger plans, faster project implementation, improved understanding of economic assets, and ultimately more competitive regions with more jobs and economic growth.
EDA’s deep experience across multiple programs, and its demonstrated return on investment, makes it uniquely positioned to effectively support the integration of cross-agency resources for transformative economic development in regions across the country.
Regional Innovation Strategies
The President’s FY 2016 Budget includes $25 million for the Regional Innovation Strategies Program to promote economic development projects that spur entrepreneurship and innovation at the regional level.
The Regional Innovation Strategies Program is an important complement to EDA’s traditional programs: together they give EDA a mechanism to provide targeted, strategic investments to communities in the way that they most need the assistance. Some communities need the foundational asset building investments while other more asset rich communities need help leveraging their potential more strategically to meet the economic development goals of their broad regional economy.
EDA is requesting $85 million for our Public Works Program, which remains a critical component of the Agency’s portfolio for providing support to distressed communities. Public works projects aid in the development of basic public assets and infrastructure that can lead to long-term economic growth, such as water and sewer system improvements, fiber optic cable, industrial parks, business incubators, expansion of ports and harbors, workforce development facilities, and multi-tenant manufacturing facilities. These investments, when coupled with “soft” infrastructure, such as sound economic development, strategic planning, and network building, help communities become more competitive in the global marketplace.
The President’s Budget also includes $39.5 million for Partnership Planning to support local organizations with their long-term economic development planning efforts and outreach. EDA’s Partnership Planning Program helps support local organizations (Economic Development Districts, Indian Tribes, and other eligible recipients) with their long-term planning efforts and their outreach to the economic development community. These local organizations communicate EDA’s program and policies, and provide technical assistance to economically distressed communities.
EDA Partnership Planning funds also support the preparation of CEDS that enable better and more strategic use of EDA’s Public Works and EAA implementation investments, including Revolving Loan Funds. Sound local planning also attracts other Federal, state, and local funds plus private sector investments to implement long-term development strategies. In this way, EDA’s Partnership Planning program plays a foundational role in helping communities develop important strategies that inform future economic development decisions.
Economic Adjustment Assistance
The President’s Budget calls for $53 million for Economic Adjustment Assistance for critical investments such as economic diversification planning, and implementation, technical assistance, and access to business start-up facilities and equipment.
The increase of $8.0 million above the FY 2015 enacted level for a total of $53.0 million for the Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program. This increase prioritizes funds toward initiatives which provide coordinated, comprehensive hard and soft infrastructure aid to communities affected by job losses in coal mining or coal generated power plants, including critical investments such as economic diversification planning, and implementation, technical assistance, and access to business start-up facilities and equipment.
The flexibility of the EAA Program provides EDA the ability to provide tailored assistance to help regions leverage the promise of regional innovation clusters. EAA’s flexibility allows EDA to fund planning activities, including those that support post-disaster recovery.
Staffing and Support
Finally, the President’s Budget also includes an additional $8.5 million to bolster EDA’s role in coordinating federal economic development programs and expand its presence in local communities for planning and technical assistance. This request would fund an additional 19 full-time staff members in EDA’s six regional offices and headquarters in Washington, DC.
With these additional resources, EDA will have the capacity to work more closely with communities and economic development stakeholders, which will enable better planning and stronger economic growth strategies.
For additional information about the President’s FY 2016 budget, visit: http://www.commerce.gov/news/fact-sheets/2015/02/02/fact-sheet-fy-2016-us-department-commerce-budget