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The Trump Budget: Harming Ohioans in Appalachia

President Trump’s proposal to dissolve the Appalachian Regional Commission would cost Ohio millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs.

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A farmhouse sits in Carrollton, Ohio, on September 19, 2012. (AP/Tony Dejak)
A farmhouse sits in Carrollton, Ohio, on September 19, 2012. (AP/Tony Dejak)

Despite President Donald Trump’s promises to support Appalachian and coal country workers, his budget would completely cut the Appalachian Regional Commission, or ARC—a partnership that works with state and local governments to invest in the region’s workers, businesses, and critical infrastructure. In Appalachian Ohio, ARC funds support an average of 445 jobs and $14.1 million in earnings every year.

The commission covers the Appalachian region, spanning 420 counties and 13 states, and garners strong bipartisan support. The ARC acts as a catalyst for targeted efforts developed by local communities for local communities, ranging from access to water and internet and the development of agritourism to the preservation of Appalachian history and culture, as well as job creation and entrepreneurship.

One of the core ARC projects is the Appalachian Development Highway System, which seeks to connect Appalachian communities, bring in new jobs, and promote economic development in the region. The system is 89 percent complete. If finished, it is predicted to result in 80,500 jobs, $5.0 billion in increased value-added production, and $3.2 billion in increased wages for workers in Appalachia by 2035—a return of $3 for every dollar invested.

The ARC empowers local governments to design and implement economic revitalization plans that address the needs of their communities. From 2007 to 2013, ARC nonhighway investments accounted for nearly 10,000 jobs and $400 million in regional earnings, and since its founding, these nonhighway investments have brought an estimated 311,835 jobs to Appalachia. In ARC counties from 1969 to 2012, job growth was 4.2 percent higher and income growth was 5.5 percent higher on average compared to neighboring non-ARC counties.

Appalachian voters trusted President Trump to understand their needs and create good jobs—95 percent of the counties covered by the Appalachian Regional Commission voted for him in 2016. But Trump is already turning his back on Appalachia.

Impact of the Appalachian Regional Commission in Ohio

The ARC covers 32 counties in Ohio and an estimated 2 million residents. Thirty of the 32 counties covered by the ARC—94 percent—voted for Trump in 2016. These counties fall into seven congressional districts—the 2nd, 6th, 7th, 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th Districts—which are represented by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R), Rep. Bill Johnson (R), Rep. Bob Gibbs (R), Rep. Pat Tiberi (R), Rep. Tim Ryan (D), Rep. David Joyce (R), and Rep. Steve Stivers (R).

Without the ARC, Ohioans would lose out on an average of 445 jobs and $14.1 million in added earnings every year. Here is the breakdown:

  • Since its founding, the ARC has brought close to 22,000 jobs, invested $258.9 million, and led to $689.2 million in increased earnings for Ohioans.
  • From October 2015 to January 2017, the ARC invested nearly $9.7 million in 41 projects in Ohio, which were matched by $34.4 million from state and local governments, and attracted an additional $5 million in private investments. These projects created or retained 750 jobs and provided training and education more than 400 students and workers.
  • From 2006 to 2010, the ARC supported 9,221 jobs, trained 6,238 students and workers, and provided improved infrastructure for 19,071 households in Ohio.

Conclusion

At the ballot box, voters in Appalachia trusted Donald Trump to fight for their jobs and their communities as president. Cutting the ARC is an outright betrayal of Appalachian communities and would leave them without the funds to implement critical workforce, education, and infrastructure projects.

Sunny Frothingham is a Senior Researcher at the Center for American Progress.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.

Authors

Sunny Frothingham

Senior Researcher

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