The head of the National League of Cities urged President Clinton and Congress on Sunday to agree on a balanced budget this year.
“The federal government cannot be allowed to pass the buck,” said Greg Lashutka, the league’s president and mayor of Columbus, Ohio. “Voters and taxpayers expect and deserve better.”
Lashutka addressed about 3,000 city officials who gathered for the league’s annual convention.
The White House and congressional Republicans have been unable to agree on a plan to balance the federal budget, leading to two temporary shutdowns of parts of the federal government last year and through much of January.
Last week the House narrowly approved another temporary spending bill that would prevent another shutdown but is billions of dollars shy of what President Clinton wants for domestic programs.
“Both the Congress and the administration have pledged to streamline government, balance the federal budget and shift policy requirements to the states, municipalities and the private sector,” said Lashutka, a Republican. “To be credible, this will require program cuts, policy changes and new funding for remaining states.”
He said that for a budget to be truly balanced “there can be no sacred cows. Every category of federal spending must be on the table.”
In addition, the budget plan must include enough time to allow cities to prepare for any new financial responsibilities, he said.