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Sequester Threatens Louisiana
State Would See More Than $200M in Cuts in 2013
There is much talk on the Hill and across America about "The Sequestering." While the tone and the title alone suggest doom and gloom like a bad horror film, the sequester is a very real series of cuts built into the federal budget. The clock is ticking down to a deadline of March 1, and no deal is yet done. If the Dems and GOP don't reach an agreement, the state of Louisiana could lose millions in federal funding this year and billions down the road.
The sequester is a series of budget cuts totaling around 1.2 trillion dollars over the next decade (between March 2013 when the sequestering takes effect and March of 2021). One study, released by the Center for American Progress ( "an independent, nonpartisan, educational institute, dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action" formed in 2003) estimated 6.4 billion in federal funding will be lost nationwide in 2013 alone, with many of those dollars disappearing from states' necessary line items—like education and public housing.
"States stand to lose billions of dollars in critical grants needed to fund everything from schools to new police officers to parks," the impact study states. "In fiscal year 2013 alone, states stand to lose an estimated $6.4 billion in federal funding. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that as many as 750,000 jobs could be lost because of the sequester. Taking a meat cleaver to spending in such a blunt, unfocused manner would send a shockwave through our economy and would hurt countless American families."
While this may sound overbearing or off base, the numbers collected are from past years and use current projections of the 2013 operating budget. The post -sequester loss for Louisiana totals to around $225,400,000 for the coming fiscal year alone (one of the hardest hit states, below only California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas). Numbers from a 2011 study performed by George Mason University predicted Louisiana would lose more than 17,000 jobs and the state's economy would suffer over $1 billion in lost earnings.
The White House has released its own breakdown of the sequester's potential effects on middle class jobs and services, and the outlook is sort of the same.
"Unless Congress acts by March 1st, a series of automatic cuts—called the sequester—will take effect that threaten hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs, and cut vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illness and our men and women in uniform," The White House statement said. "There is no question that we need to cut the deficit, but the President believes it should be done in a balanced way that protects investments that the middle class relies on."
It goes on to say that President Barak Obama has already included spending cuts in his proposed plan, and that there are twice as many necessary cuts as there are tax revenue adjustments for the wealthy.
The deadline looms in the same way the fiscal cliff did at the beginning of the year—a ticking clock that will continue to be used as a political bargaining chip, while most on the Hill unofficially know with certainty that some deal will be struck. The sobering reality of it all is that Louisiana could lose more than $225 million in federal funding if that deal is not struck.
As the President's statement said, "Our economy is continuing to strengthen but we cannot afford a self-inflicted wound from Washington."
Below is a list of figures and facts on how Louisiana will be affected by the sequester, via the White House report.
Military: In Louisiana, approximately 7,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $35.9 million in total. (This does not include the almost $60 million in cuts across all branches of service, as well as a planned demolition project at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans).
Teachers and Schools: Louisiana will lose approximately $15.8 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 220 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 26,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 50 fewer schools would receive funding.
Education for Children with Disabilities: In addition, Louisiana will lose approximately $9.8 million in funds for about 120 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.
Work-Study Jobs: Around 540 fewer low income students in Louisiana would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 110 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.
Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 1,400 children in Louisiana, reducing access to critical early education.
Protections for Clean Air and Clean Water: Louisiana would lose about $2.5 million in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Louisiana could lose another $884,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection.
Law Enforcement and Public Safety Funds for Crime Prevention and Prosecution: Louisiana will lose about $264,000 in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.
Job Search Assistance to Help those in Louisiana find Employment and Training: Louisiana will lose about $509,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning around 17,150 fewer people will get the help and skills they need to find employment.
Vaccines: In Louisiana around 1,730 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $118,000.
Public Health: Louisiana will lose approximately $433,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, Louisiana will lose about $1.3 million in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 1,300 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the Louisiana State Department of Health & Hospitals will lose about $320,000 resulting in around 8,000 fewer HIV tests. The cuts are also predicted to result in about 400 fewer screenings for breast and cervical cancer, according to the Center for American Progress.
Other programs that would suffer include: STOP Violence Against Women Program, Child Care assistance, and Nutrition Assistance for Seniors.
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