fresh voices from the front lines of change







For folks in Washington, sequestration is kind of like gambling with someone else’s money. (Congressional salaries are exempt, after all.) Republicans are betting that either (a) the sequester will be so painless that one will even notice it, or (b) that the sequester will hurt like hell and the blame will shift to the President Obama. The White House is betting the the president’s popularity and public support will make people more likely to pin the blame on the GOP.

The White House probably has a stronger hand than the GOP. That’s why the president is going over Congress’ head, and talking directly to Americans, in a series of events to point out the impact of sequestration’s automatic “across-the-board” cuts. In its latest move, the White House has released a series of state-by-state reports on how the sequestration cuts will play out closer to home.

About one fifth of federal grant funding to state — money that states use to everything from education to health programs, social services, employment and training programs, etc. — is subject to cuts under sequestration. Some states will be hit harder than others. States in the Washington metro area, like Maryland and Virginia, are likely to be heavily impacted by defense cuts. Interesting enough, heavily Republican “red” states in the South get hit particularly hard.

In my own state, Maryland, the cuts are deep and dismaying.

If sequestration were to take effect, some examples of the impacts on Maryland this year alone are:

  • Teachers and Schools: Maryland will lose approximately $14.4 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 200 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 12,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 30 fewer schools would receive funding.
  •  Education for Children with Disabilities: In addition, Maryland will lose approximately $9.7 million in funds for about 120 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.
  • Work-Study Jobs: Around 770 fewer low income students in Maryland would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 440 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 800 children in Maryland, reducing access to critical early education. 
  • Protections for Clean Air and Clean Water: Maryland would lose about $3.1 million in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Maryland could lose another $467,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection.
  • Military Readiness: In Maryland, approximately 46,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $353.7 million in total.
  • Army: Base operation funding would be cut by about $95 million in Maryland.
  • Air Force: Funding for Air Force operations in Maryland would be cut by about $10 million.
  • Navy: $9 million in funding for a demolition project in Patuxent River and aircraft depot maintenance in Patuxent River could be canceled, as well as Blue Angels shows in Annapolis and Ocean City
  • Law Enforcement and Public Safety Funds for Crime Prevention and Prosecution: Maryland will lose about $317,000 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 Maryland find Employment and Training: Maryland will lose about $66,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning around 9,270 fewer people will get the help and skills they need to find employment.
  • Child Care: Up to 400 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 Maryland around 2,050 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 $140,000.
  • Public Health: Maryland will lose approximately $551,000 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, Maryland will lose about $1.6 million in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 2,500 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And Maryland health departments will lose about $595,000 resulting in around 14,900 fewer HIV tests.
  • STOP Violence Against Women Program: Maryland could lose up to $124,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 500 fewer victims being served.
  • Nutrition Assistance for Seniors: Maryland would lose approximately $877,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.

And lots of Republicans want sequestration to happen.  (A “majority of the majority,” 174 House Republicans voted for it.) The GOP is willing to let all of this happen to people in my state. They say it will be painless.” Does anything on that list above sound “painless”? The impact on my children’s’ schools alone is stomach-turning, especially when I consider how crowded our schools already are. With fewer teachers, how many children will be in my kids’ classes? With fewer schools funded, how crowded will my kids’ schools be?

Republicans are willing to let all of this happen in my state, because the GOP is dead set against increasing revenue, and willing to do all of the above and worse to my state and yours, in order to protect tax loopholes for the wealthy and to have a shot at cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in the bargain.

How will sequestration impact your state? What’s the GOP willing to inflict on your friends, your neighbors, and your family? Click the link to the White House report for your state below, and find out.

1. Alabama

2. Alaska

3. Arizona

4. Arkansas

5. California

6. Colorado

7. Connecticut

8. Delaware

9. District of Columbia

10. Florida

11. Georgia

12. Hawaii

13. Idaho

14. Illinois

15. Indiana

16. Iowa

17. Kansas

18. Kentucky

19. Louisiana

20. Maine

21. Maryland

22. Massachusetts

23. Michigan

24. Minnesota

25. Mississippi

26. Missouri

27. Montana

28. Nebraska

29. Nevada

30. New Hampshire

31. New Jersey

32. New Mexico

33. New York

34. North Carolina

35. North Dakota

36. Ohio

37. Oklahoma

38. Oregon

39. Pennsylvania

40. Rhode Island

41. South Carolina

42. South Dakota

43. Tennessee

44. Texas

45. Utah

46. Vermont

47. Virginia

48. Washington

49. West Virginia

50. Wisconsin

51. Wyoming

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