The federal government should provide counties with money targeted to help address specific cyclical problems - such as the drought in the Midwest - as such situations arise, says Salt lake County Commissioner Mike Stewart.
Stewart flew to Los Angeles Thursday to testify before the Republican National Platform Committee on behalf of the National Association of Counties. Stewart last year was elected the association's third vice president.Local governments have trimmed budgets to deal with the loss of federal revenue sharing dollars but have no way to replace that lost funding. The elimination of the revenue-sharing program in 1986 cost Salt Lake County $10 million in revenues, Stewart said.
"NACO is seeking a targeted federal fiscal assistance program to expand the local government response to cyclical situations, and the current drought would certainly qualify under such a program," he said. "These would not be continuing commitments and would be separate from federal emergency assistance program funding."
Stewart said his testimony would also urge federal tax reform to restore incentives encouraging partnerships of local governments and the private sector to deal with urgent local issues.
While local governments are being told by the federal government to increasingly rely on such partnerships to offset federal funding cuts, Congress - through the Tax Reform Act of 1986 - has destroyed private-sector incentives to cooperate with local governments in those types of arrangements, Stewart said.
The prepared text Stewart was slated to present to the platform committee also called for welfare reform, a national health-care system and increased federal assistance for job training and child-care programs.
The statement calls for the federal government to take the lead in battling the disease AIDS through increased funding for education, treatment and research.
The prepared statement also called for national policies relating to America's deteriorating infrastructure of highways and bridges as well as the shortage of low-income housing.