GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – President Trump’s proposed budget could cut millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs in the Upstate, Western North Carolina, and Northeast Georgia.
The budget will eliminate the Appalachian Regional Commission. The commission supports Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens, and Spartanburg counties in South Carolina; Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Dade, Dawson, Douglas, Elbert, Fannin, Floyd, Forsyth, Franklin, Gilmer, Gordon, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Haralson, Hart, Heard, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, Walker, White, and Whitfield counties in Georgia; and Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Davie, Forsyth, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, McDowell, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Stokes, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin, and Yancey counties in North Carolina.
“This is a commission that does a lot of good for Appalachian communities,” said Sunny Frothingham, the Senior Researcher Center for American Progress.
The commission helps create jobs as well as train and educate workers and students. In the Upstate, it played a role in setting the state up to be able to support the BMW plant.
“The overarching principal is getting that $19 trillion (debt) under control, and tough decisions are going to need to be made,” said Nate Leupp, the Chairman of the Greenville County Republican Party.
The Center for American Progress (CAP) is an organization that did research on how getting rid of that commission would impact the Carolinas and Georgia. The say 1.2 million people in the Upstate alone benefit from the commission.
“Those communities really stand to lose hundreds of jobs, millions in household income if the Appalachian Regional Commission is eliminated,” Frothingham said.
In the past year and a half, the commission has invested $3.4 million, created 180 jobs, and trained over 1000 students in South Carolina, mostly
in counties CAP says all voted for the president.
“It’s really shocking to see Trump turning his back on these communities who supported him,” Frothingham said.
However, Leupp says that’s not the case.
“Always, if something’s cut, needs can be filled by other groups or other organizations, and so it’s not that anyone is turning their back on South Carolina,” Leupp said.
He says eliminations now could save from drastic decreases in the future.
“I recognize that when you tighten the belt somethings are going to have to change or be cut that are even positive or we like,” Leupp said.
The Appalachian Regional Commission released the following response:
We have no comment on the budget proposal… We continue to be very proud of our work and our mission to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in 420 counties across the 13 Appalachian states. From October 2015 – January 2017, In partnership with the South Carolina Department of Commerce, ARC has supported 18 projects in South Carolina totaling $3.4 million. These investments have been matched by nearly $6.1 million in South Carolina. They will also create or retain 180 jobs, train and educate nearly 1,100 students and workers, and benefit the nearly 1.2 million residents of South Carolina’s six Appalachian counties.