White House: Sequester would cost Connecticut $50M
Connecticut would lose more than $50 million this year in funding for education, job training, public health, law enforcement, environmental protection and assistance for its youngest and oldest citizens if Congress and President Barack Obama cannot forge a budget deal by March 1, the White House said Sunday night.
Obama, continuing to speak directly to the American people rather than to Congress on the latest budget deadline, issued a state-by-state breakdown of impacts from "sequestration" cuts if no budget deal is reached in the next few days.
The White House release again decried the "severe impacts" of the sequester's meat-ax approach.
"The Office of Management and Budget now calculates that sequestration will require an annual reduction of roughly 5 percent for non-defense programs and roughly 8 percent for defense" nationwide, the White House statement said.
"Given that these cuts must be achieved over only seven months (allowing time to implement them) instead of 12, the effective percentage reductions will be approximately 9 percent for nondefense programs and 13 percent for defense."
The White House statement urged Republicans to "compromise and meet the President in the middle. We cannot simply cut our way to prosperity, and if Republicans continue to insist on an unreasonable, cuts-only approach, Connecticut risks paying the price."
The Connecticut list includes:
Teachers and schools: About $8.7 million for primary and secondary education, putting about 120 teacher and aide jobs at risk. The White House estimated 40 fewer schools would receive funding and 8,000 fewer students would be served.
Early education and child care: Head Start and Early Head Start would be eliminated for about 500 children, and 200 "disadvantaged and vulnerable" children would lose child care.
Public health: About $107,000 for childhood vaccines, meaning 1,570 fewer children will be vaccinated; about $341,000 in funds to help upgrade the state's ability to respond to public-health emergencies; $840,000 for substance abuse prevention and treatment; and $273,000 for HIV testing.
Defense: Approximately 3,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by about $15 million; $1.6 million for Army base operations; $13 million for two demolition projects at New London, plus unspecified funding for maintenance and repair of the USS Providence.
Job search assistance and placement: $242,000, or funding for about 10,650 job seekers.
Environment: $2 million in clean water and air funding, plus $398,000 to protect fish and wildlife.
Other: $153,000 for Justice Assistance Grants to aid police, courts and corrections; $201,000 for nutritional assistance for seniors; and $87,000 for services to domestic-violence victims.
Reached Sunday night at his office in Hartford, where he was meeting with a group from Newtown on gun issues, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said, "I think these more current numbers reaffirm how catastrophic these arbitrary, automatic across-the-board cuts would be. I will be working intensely during these next few days to bring together a bipartisan group that can help stop them.
"We need a balanced approach with smart and responsible spending cuts but also revenue increases through closing loopholes and tax breaks -- to oil and gas and agribusiness and others," Blumenthal said. "The real disastrous impact in Connecticut will be to stymie our all-too-slow economic recovery and impede job creation."