What the FY 25 Budget Means for KABOOM! Link copied!

March 21, 2024


Last week, President Biden released his FY 25 Budget proposal, kicking off federal budget negotiations. While this is not a final document, it is indicative of the Administration’s priorities for the remainder of the year.

This budget has been shaped by the spending caps agreed to in the 2023 debt ceiling deal; therefore, many of the funding increases we have traditionally seen in other proposed budgets are not outlined in this spending plan.

Since its introduction, many members of Congress have expressed a desire to either increase or decrease spending, depending on their own policy and fiscal practice preferences. In its own messaging, the Administration has highlighted how this budget will help reduce the federal deficit if spending remains capped at the agreed-upon limits and additional tax revenues are generated. This approach is a departure from the more recent Democratic positioning in previous budget negotiations.

With this background, here are some of the issues KABOOM! is tracking during the federal appropriations process. The Administration is continuing its commitment to environmental justice initiatives. This budget outlines resources that will help historically disinvested communities address exposure to toxic materials, surfaces, and lead water service lines. The proposed budget includes funding for several programs that will provide local governments with the resources needed to address these environmental—and subsequently public health—disparities.

Funding for these programs is in addition to the $1.5 billion allocated in the budget specifically for the Justice 40 initiative, which is proving to be a critical tool in providing federal resources to frontline communities dealing with some of the most severe consequences of climate change while having historically fewer resources to deal with it.

Studying the scope of climate change and its impact on people is a high priority in this budget proposal. $4.5 billion across several different federal agencies has been allocated for advancing climate science, and there is an additional $138.5 million for the Bureaus of Economic Analysis to examine the impacts of climate change on local economies.

This is an area of research that is critical to KABOOM! and our sustainability work because it demonstrates how extreme weather events directly impact people’s work and recreation, especially Black and brown people whose neighborhoods often have fewer resources to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Eliminating the disparity in climate change readiness while making every community more climate resilient is also highlighted in the budget. The Administration has proposed $5.5 billion to be spent across several different agencies on climate adaptation and resiliency programs.

In addition to the significant investment the Administration is proposing to battle climate change, this budget also contains significant resources for creating more access to outdoor recreation. The National Park Service would see an increase of $481 million, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)program would receive an additional $8 million to assist tribal nations with land acquisition for the purpose of conservation and recreation activities, and the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program would once again be funded at $125 million.

Investments into outdoor recreation like these help protect the health of our kids who need access to green and outdoor spaces to grow into strong, confident adults. By funding these programs, the proposed budget aims at supporting kid’s mental, social, and physical development. The Administration proposes hiring 14,000 school-based mental health professionals, expanding universal pre-k for military children attending DOD Education Activity Schools both stateside and abroad, and expanding the “Every Kid Outdoors” program. 

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program saw a $400 million reduction in funding in the proposed budget, with those resources shifting to support an expansion of other housing and rental assistance programs. While housing is a critical need in many communities, we hope that CDBG funding is restored so that anti-poverty investments in youth programming and childcare infrastructure can continue to meet the needs of families and kids.

If FY 24 is any indication, the FY 25 budget process will be a long one. KABOOM! will continue to monitor the situation closely and seek to support proposals that strengthen access to outdoor physical activity for children.