- Associated Press - Friday, March 17, 2017

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - President Donald Trump’s budget plan would cut funds for a government agency that promotes economic development in eastern Arkansas and other parts of the Mississippi Delta.

The Delta Regional Authority is one of nearly 20 independent agencies marked for closure under a 2018 budget plan Trump’s administration released Thursday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported (https://bit.ly/2mALVZk ).

Some members of the Arkansas’ congressional delegation oppose the cut.

Chris Masingill, the authority’s federal co-chairman, said the economic agency would go out of business if the budget passes.

“It’s one thing to have a budget reduction, to have your resources cut down,” Masingill. “What the president is recommending is a complete elimination. That’s the first time that that’s ever happened.”

The authority serves more than 250 counties and parishes in portions of Alabama and seven states that border the Mississippi River, many of them with high rates of poverty. Since its inception in 2000, it has distributed $163 million in aid to the region and helped retain or create more than 26,000 jobs.

“It would really be devastating if it were terminated,” said Lake Village Mayor JoAnne Bush. “They’ve been a great help to our area, and they’ve been a great help to every area that they serve.”

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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