WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced it would keep the current Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) core population threshold of 50,000 in place for the next ten years after review and public comment. OMB was considering changing the threshold to 100,000. MSA standards are used by the federal government to determine eligibility for certain programs and grant opportunities.
This decision follows a letter to OMB on June 30th led by House Budget Committee Republican Leader Jason Smith, Missouri Governor Mike Parson, Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley, and Representatives Ann Wagner, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Vicky Hartzler, Samuel Graves, and Billy Long expressing concerns over the potential impact a change to MSA standards would have on Missouri communities and rural areas. According to the MSA Standards Review Committee, increasing the population threshold for the MSA classification from 50,000 to 100,000 would have eliminated the MSA designation for 144 areas. This would have had a devastating impact on those communities, which include 251 counties and almost 19 million Americans, and those that need to access federal resources.
House Budget Committee Republican Leader Smith (MO-08) issued the following statement:
“Having joined with my Missouri colleagues to call attention to the needs of rural Missouri and small towns across America, I am pleased to see that OMB recognizes the important role this designation plays in the lives of rural America. The current MSA threshold helps give small and rural Missouri communities a fair shot at getting federal assistance and access to programs for the people who live there. With this designation in place for the next ten years, towns and cities across America, and the workers and families who call them home, will continue to have access to vital services,” said House Budget Committee Republican Leader Smith.