RESTON, Va. — Last week President Trump released the blueprint for his FY2018 budget, entitled America First, A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again. The budget proposes a $52 billion increase in defense spending which is offset by cuts to most other agencies—including a 21 percent decrease in funding to the Department of Agriculture, a 12 percent decrease in funding for the Department of the Interior and a 16 percent cut to the Army Corps of Engineers.
The budget proposal cuts $1.5 billion from the Department of Interior, which includes the important outdoor recreation agencies of the National Parks Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management. The funding cuts are aimed at reducing unnecessary and duplicative programs and reducing funds for acquiring new federal lands. The proposal states that funds will be provided to protect, conserve and provide access to public lands while increasing investment in deferred maintenance projects. The RV Industry Association (RVIA) expresses some concern about the ability to address the $12 billion maintenance backlog while absorbing a 12 percent decrease in DOI’s budget.
“Investing in America’s great outdoors is imperative to safeguard the health of the $50 billion RV economy,” said RVIA President Frank Hugelmeyer. “At a time with a record number of RVs headed into the outdoors, steps should be taken to ensure adequate and safe infrastructure exists for this revenue driving segment of the federal government. RVIA applauds proposals in the budget blueprint to increase investment in deferred maintenance projects and to leverage taxpayer investments with public and private partnerships. RVIA looks forward to working with Congress and the Administration on the final budget to prioritize outdoor recreation, address the maintenance backlog and expand access to federal lands for RVers.”
The Department of Agriculture (USDA), including the U.S. Forest Service, is facing the largest proposed cut of $4.7 billion. The bulk of the cuts are aimed at food education programs, water and wastewater loan programs, and unspecified staff reductions at USDA service center agencies. The budget does fully fund wildland fire preparedness and suppression activities while reducing funding for major new federal land acquisitions.
SOURCE: RVIA press release