May 24, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – America’s Service Commissions (ASC), the national association of state service commissions which leads, supports and elevates the state service network, issued a statement upon release of President Trump’s 2018 Budget.
Following is a statement by Kaira Esgate, Chief Executive Officer of America’s Service Commissions.
Yesterday’s release of the President’s FY18 Budget leaves me deeply concerned.
The plan, titled ‘A New Foundation for American Greatness’, would gut the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) along with 18 other critical agencies, shutting down any new or continued funding for its programs AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and the Volunteer Generation Fund. The budget, if enacted, would provide just one year of salaries and basic support for CNCS as it begins the shutdown process.
While we applaud the administration’s efforts to promote federal financial efficiency, America’s Service Commissions (ASC) believes that the proposal to shutdown CNCS and eliminate its vital programs is short-sighted, inconsistent with the President’s goals to improve American communities, and would create devastating unintended consequences for our nation.
National service (AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Volunteer Generation Fund) is a small but critical investment that saves taxpayer dollars, enhances the American economy, and grows our country’s talent pipeline through job creation and workforce development.
If enacted, the President’s FY18 Budget would deny 80,000 AmeriCorps members the opportunity to serve their country, prevent 270,000 Senior Corps volunteers from providing vital service to their communities, and devastate thousands of faith-based and community organizations.
Governors alone would stand to lose $500 million in critical resources that support our nation’s veterans, schools, children, families, and faith- and community-based organizations through the elimination of 52 Governors’ state service commissions as recommended in the budget.
We believe that President Trump and Congress must fully support low-cost, high-impact domestic programs such as AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and the Volunteer Generation Fund. These programs represent the best and brightest aspects of our country — Americans’ commitment to give back through service, to help others less fortunate help themselves, and to solve our greatest challenges together at the local level.
As the recently enacted FY17 appropriations legislation demonstrates, we have strong bi-partisan support from Congressional leaders who believe national service is a good and cost-effective investment.
Further, ASC believes that state service commissions and national service programs can play a key role in partnering with the White House to advance domestic policy priorities such as: fighting America’s opioid epidemic, supporting veterans and military families, educating future generations from ‘cradle to career,’ and restoring critical infrastructure to communities ravaged by poverty, disaster, unemployment, and crime.
We do not support disinvestment in volunteer, community service, or national service infrastructure. We support a strong Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) agency and, accordingly, a robust budget to support its program operations at the state and local level.
Today, we submit a letter of support to Congress from 638 Governor-appointed state leaders and service commissioners highlighting their enthusiastic, unwavering commitment to national and community service. Together, these service commissioners have seen firsthand the impact AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and programs funded by CNCS have had on their states and local communities.
We look forward to working with the White House and the Trump Administration to show our leaders the great value national service programs bring to American taxpayers.
–Kaira Esgate, CEO, America’s Service Commissions
Additional information and resources:
CNCS FY18 Congressional Budget Justification
President’s FY18 Budget (Released May 23, 2017)
Poll: American Voters Want National Service
Article: The Economic Value of National Service
Timeline: Eight Decades of Bipartisan Support for National Service
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About America’s Service Commissions
America’s Service Commissions is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing and promoting the 52 governor-appointed state service commissions across the United States and territories with the mission to lead and elevate the state service network. State service commissions are governor-appointed public agencies or nonprofit organizations made up of more than 1,110 commissioners, private citizens leading the nation’s service movement and administering 78 percent of the federal AmeriCorps funds to address pressing community needs. Learn more: statecommissions.org.