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What is Sequestration?: Deadline Looms, Cuts Could Hit Minnesota Education Programs

Minnesota's Congressional delegation has weighed in on the series of cuts that could hit the country March 1. The rollbacks would hit everything from education to senior care, the White House states.

If a deal isn’t struck by Friday between President Obama and Congress, a sequester will begin that will auto-start a series of mandated federal budget cuts that would quickly be felt across the Midwest.

Here’s a sample of what’s at risk:

Hundreds of teaching jobs. Thousands of children dropped from early childhood education. Elimination of work-study jobs that support thousands of low-income college students getting a degree. The loss of childcare for thousands of disadvantaged kids. Furloughs for thousands of civilian Defense Department employees.

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, a Republican representing Minnesota's Sixth District (including St. Michael), released this statement to the Minneapolis Star Tribune earlier this month

“I voted against the Budget Control Act and opposed the concept of arbitrary, ill-thought-out sequestration cuts from the beginning. The House has already passed two pieces of legislation to replace sequestration, both of which I supported. We should be focused on getting to a stable, growing economy where wages expand and the cost of daily items like groceries and gas go down.  People's lives have been hurt by low wages and higher prices because the government continues to spend a greater and greater share of the money we earn.

When government takes even more of what we make, then we get to keep a lot less of what we earn, and sadly, that isn't increasing wages or bringing down the basic costs of living for most people. To solve our economic problems, we could choose to (1) grow our economy, (2) get our spending in line with our income, or (3) dramatically increase everyone's taxes. I'm voting for our kids, our seniors, and our families—that's why I'm voting to grow our economy and to get our spending in line with our income.”

The scope of the sequester, a plan to trim the budget by $1.2 trillion over the next decade, was mandated as part of a 2011 law. If a deal isn’t reached by Friday, $85 billion in cuts will sweep across federal agencies between March and September. The sequester includes cuts of 8 percent to the Pentagon budget and 5 percent to domestic agency operating budgets.

Nationally, here’s what a Time report suggests will happen if the sequester begins:

Picture air travel snarled. Meat inspections curtailed. National security imperiled. Seventy thousand children booted from Head Start programs, 10,000 teaching jobs jeopardized, disability payments delayed, aid withheld from needy Americans and foreign governments perched on the brink of chaos. Hundreds of thousands of jobs could be lost, and the fragile economy knocked into a tailspin.

The White House released fact sheets for each state detailing the impact of the sequester.

Teachers and Schools:

  • Minnesota will lose about $7 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 100 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 8,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 40 fewer schools would receive funding.

Education for Children with Disabilities:

  • Minnesota will lose approximately $9.2 million in funds for about 110 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.

Work-Study Jobs:

  • Minnesota: Around 920 fewer low-income students in Minnesota would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 500 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 700 children in Minnesota, reducing access to critical early education.

Protections for Clean Air and Clean Water:

  • Minnesota would lose about $3 million in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Minnesota could lose another $1.6 million in grants for fish and wildlife protection.

Military Readiness: 

 In Minnesota, approximately 2,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $12.5 million in total.

  • Army: Base operation funding would be cut by about $2.5 million in Minnesota.
  • Navy: A scheduled Blue Angels show in St. Cloud could be canceled.

Law Enforcement and Public Safety Funds for Crime Prevention and Prosecution:

  • Minnesota will lose about $201,000 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:

  • Minnesota will lose about $689,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning around 23,270 fewer people will get the help and skills they need to find employment.

Child Care:

  • Minnesota: Up to 500 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care, which is also essential for working parents to hold down a job.

Vaccines for Children:

  • In Minnesota about 2,360 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 $161,000.

Public Health:

  • Minnesota will lose approximately $507,000 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, Minnesota will lose about $1.2 million in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 1,700 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the Minnesota Department of Health will lose about $127,000 resulting in around 3,200 fewer HIV tests.

STOP Violence Against Women Program:

  • Minnesota could lose up to $113,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 400 fewer victims being served.

Nutrition Assistance for Seniors:

  • Minnesota would lose approximately $845,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.
Mary February 27, 2013 at 02:01 PM
Please stop spreadeing the fear. Our federal government spending is $10.5 billion per day. I fail to see how those in charge cannot find ways to make cuts in duplicative services already in existence. Rand Paul went thru his offices budget and found $500,000 of unnecessary funding and returned it to the government. These folks in Washington are nothing but big spenders, encouraged by special interest groups who have their ear. "The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale." - - Thomas Jefferson
Rick February 28, 2013 at 03:02 AM
Mary is right on mark. This administration is doing nothing but doling out fear and utilizing scare tactics to get their way. This POTUS is nothing but a spoiled brat. Bob Woodward said Obama was showing a "kind of madness I haven't seen in a long time" for a decision not to deploy an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf because of budget concerns" and what happens? Woodward gets an email from the White House saying he'll regret his comments. We have free speech in this country, yet when this President is questioned, his minions threaten. This whole sequester is a joke. Planes won't fly, illegals being freed from jail, schools will lose funding. What a total, unbridled crock. Spending for the last two years has risen more than the sequester amount. And school funding has risen faster than inflation. Here's a novel thought. Get the federal gvmt the hell out of our lives. Go back to what the Constitution tells you to do. Return educational decisions and ALL funding to the states. There is so much waste inside the beltway it's disgusting. And this administration just went over 1400 days without a budget too. Get real.
Al Anderson February 28, 2013 at 03:37 PM
Typical Patch -- playing the chicken little game about a small (and far from enough) projected spending cuts. Here's a different way of looking at this -- if Minnesota only "receives" back 50+ cents in the form of spending for every dollar in Minnesota based taxes sent to Washington -- why wouldnt most Minnesotans be cheering an overdue decision to start scaling back the price and scale of the federal government. After all, you wont find many better investments than to "make" (for Minnesota) nearly 100% on a single federal decision. That's what (in general) will happen when this sequester goes through. http://mnstatenews.com/capitol-headlines/1-capitol/218-minnesota-nice-paying-more-in-federal-taxes-than-receiving-in-federal-spending.html

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