How Will The Sequester Impact Ohio? - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

How Will The Sequester Impact Ohio?

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Washington lawmakers agreed to $85 billion in automatic spending cuts – called the sequester – believing they would be able to make a deal on federal deficit reduction long before the cuts would actually take place. That hasn't happened. By percentage of the federal budget the cuts are small, but for thousands of Ohioans facing furloughs and job losses, the cuts are huge.

Ohio's Head Start programs stand to lose $22 million under the automatic federal funding cuts set to take effect March 1. The cuts would eliminate 600 teaching jobs and result in 3,000 fewer spots for children in the classroom.

Anita Davis, at the Child Development Council of Franklin County, says the cuts would make the long waiting lists for Head Start programs – even longer.

"So now we are going to take children who were already waiting to get in and their chances of getting in to the program are going to diminish significantly," Davis said. "I just don't know how we would say to the parents ‘I'm so sorry we just can't take your children anymore.'"

At Lifecare Alliance, the Meals on Wheels program would lose $250,000 which translates to about 96,000 meals.  According to a fact sheet released by the White House, other cuts in Ohio would include:

  • $344,000 for child vaccines
  • $455,000 for crime prevention programs
  • $823,000 for nutrition assistance for seniors
  • $1,786,000 for job search assistance programs
  • $25,100,000 in funding for primary and secondary education

Civilian employees at the Defense Supply Center in Whitehall would be among 26,000 defense department employees across the state who would likely see pay cuts to save $161 million in federal payroll.

Matt Mayer, president of Opportunity Ohio, a conservative think tank, says someone always loses out with funding cuts and says lawmakers are unnecessarily scaring Ohioans.

"The sky is not falling," Mayer said. "We will be fine. We just need to figure out how do we take care of vulnerable populations and separate the government spending that needs to be cut from the government spending that needs to be maintained."

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