Sequester would hit Alabama hard

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, February 26, 2013

With just days to go before sequestration goes into effect, the White House on Sunday released detailed information about what the $85 billion in cuts would mean to each state.

The White House is arguing for tax increases to soften the cuts, but Republicans in Congress oppose them. Congresswoman Martha Roby, R-Ala., who represents the Wiregrass in Washington, has called for “smarter” spending cuts.

Alabama’s senior senator, Richard Shelby, said in a prepared statement last week of the sequester, “It certainly is no long-term solution to our spending problem. But, it should be a cautionary tale for Congress.

“The sequester we face today is the tip of the iceberg compared to the austerity measures that will be necessary in the future if Congress does not act soon on comprehensive fiscal reform.,” Shelby said. “Comprehensive reform must include both tax reform and spending cuts. One without the other is only a partial solution.”

What Alabama would lose if sequestration is enacted beginning Fri., March 1, according to the White House release:


Teachers and schools

Approximately $11 million in funding for primary and secondary education, and an additional $9 million for special education, affecting a total of 260 teacher and aide jobs.


Funding for clean air and water

$2 million in clean water and air quality funding, and another $1 million for fish and wildlife protection.


Job-search assistance

$472,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement, affecting approximately 16,600 people.


Public health

Approximately $457,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health; $1.18 million for preventing and treating substance abuse; and $165,000 for HIV testing.


College assistance, work study

Around 940 fewer low-income students in Alabama would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 280 fewer students would get work-study jobs.


Military readiness

Approximately 27,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $176.9 million in total. Army: Base operation funding would be cut by about $91 million in Alabama. Air Force: Funding for Air Force operations in Alabama would be cut by about $8 million. Residents in South Alabama also would be affected by cuts to Eglin.


Child care

Up to 500 disadvantaged children could lose access to child care.


STOP Violence Against Women Program

$102,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 400 fewer victims being served.


Head Start

Head Start and Early Head Start services for approximately 1,100 children in Alabama.


Funds for law enforcement and public safety

$230,000 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.


Vaccines for children

$144,000 in funding for vaccines, meaning 2,110 fewer children would receive vaccinations.


Nutrition assistance for seniors

Approximately $865,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.