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Sequester in Florida: What Do You Think About the $85 Billion in Cuts?

The White House has released a document highlighting the deep cuts Florida will face if a deal isn’t reached before March 1. We’d like to get your take on the cuts and what should be done to avoid them.

Tampa Bay is a long way from Washington, D.C., but it’s often clear what happens there has very real, very dramatic impacts on our day to day life.

Case in point: the upcoming “sequester,” which will impose $85 billion in automatic spending cuts on the federal government as of March 1 if a deal isn’t reached, according to The Huffington Post.

Those cuts dig deep into just about every government agency imaginable from the federal to the local level. They affect the military, schools, law enforcement, air traffic control, food inspections and more.

In Florida, the impacts this year alone, according to a document released by the White House (see attached PDF) could be staggering. Here are just a few of the impacts the White House says will hit Florida in 2013:

  • Florida will lose approximately $54.5 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 750 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition, about 95,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 130 fewer schools would receive funding
  • Funding for Air Force operations in Florida would be cut by about $23 million
  • Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 2,700 children in Florida, reducing access to critical early education
  • In Florida, approximately 31,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $183.2 million in total
  • Florida will lose about $970,000 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

The list goes on.

What is the Sequester?

The sequester was agreed to back in 2011 as part of the Budget Control Act. The agreement stated if Congress couldn’t reach a deal to cut spending and reduce the federal deficit on its own, the across-the-board cuts would go into effect, according to Forbes.

Fast forward to 2013 and there’s no deal in sight. The Democrats want to see a combination of spending cuts and tax increases enacted. The Republicans say there have been enough tax increases already and budget woes should be handled through more targeted spending cuts, according to ABC News.

If a deal isn’t struck by Friday, March 1, the sequester kicks in. While it delivers those spending cuts the Republicans want, the sequester was designed to create across-the-board cuts of 10 percent. This means wiggle room to keep spending in certain areas higher won’t be available.

Here’s what we’d like your take on Tampa Bay: What do you think about the proposed spending cuts? What’s your take on government’s failure to reach a compromise? How do you think the sequester could be avoided? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Dad of Three March 07, 2013 at 10:19 PM
You've got to be clowning around with us, John. Obama has totally ignored the far left, and is instead pandering to moderate conservatives, centrists, and moderate progressives. Of course he is also ignoring the far right, but so are any Republicans who intend for the GOP to be relevant to America in future elections. As to cutting spending, I'm all for that, but there are smart ways to do it, and very very dumb ways to do it. As a starter, I'd suggest you get a copy of the March 4th issue of Time, where there is a terrific analysis (in a thirty page report) of why US health care costs are so outrageous; just getting costs under reasonable control would do a tremendous amount to reduce spending. And, while I am a retired military officer, and a strong advocate for a vigorous defense establishment, there is a tremendous amount of unnecessary spending - much of it mandated by Congressmen and Senators seeking to keep programs running in their home districts. Many of those pork barrel projects are not even wanted by the generals and admirals. Besides, do we really need a massive deployed force in Europe; those Ruskies ain't comin' across the border, friend, and Germany and France the others in Europe are strong enough to defend themselves, if they'll get off their collective asses and spend what they really need to do that.
Steve March 08, 2013 at 12:18 PM
Obama did NOT get "his" tax hike. He didn't even get "our" tax hike. Because of the Republican intransigience, what he DID manage to get was the end to 18% of a bunch of tax cuts that were supposed to expire three years ago--the remaining 82% of those tax cuts--which the Republicans were scared to talk about in 2001 because they knew of the effect on the deficit--are alive, well, and feeding the greed of the rich in this country. Frankly, I'm a bit sick of paying part of John Boehner's tax bill for him.
Steve March 08, 2013 at 12:21 PM
How does somebody who believes i keeping Social Security and Medicare intact classify as the "Far Left." My father died at age-96 after 31 years on Medicare and 36 years on Social Security, both of which he gladly accepted while calling himself a "staunch conservative." He paid in a tiny fraction of what he got out of both systems because he always worked at relatively low-paying jobs. He voted for Barry Goldwater and defended Richad Nixon to his death. But, according to you, he was a member of the "Far Left." Nonsnese.
Steve March 08, 2013 at 12:24 PM
Yeh, he was so radical that he refused to compromise when he extended the Bush Tax Cuts for two year; and when he allowed a raise in capital gains taxes from 15% to 20% instead of 39.5%; and when he allowed the hedge fund managers to keep calling their "income" "carried interest" instead; and when he only managed to cancel out 18% of the Bush Tax Cuts, rather than the entire 100%. Real radical there--NOT! Why do you think the liberals are about fed up with him, too?
Dad of Three March 08, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Boy you are totally misinterpreting what I wrote, Steve. Protecting Social Security and Medicare (and that's not to suggest there couldn't be some reforms, by the way, as long as they would not materially affect current retirees or about-to-be's) is not a Far Left issue. Those of us who are centrists, as well as most conservatives and certainly all progressives, want to protect those two essential programs. But you can reform essential programs (as the US has done from time to time) and achieve some savings while protecting the most vulnerable. For easy example, there could be simple reforms, such as means-testing benefits, with triggers that clearly only to the higher end of incomes, and there could be reforms in what the cut-offs are to FICA wages. No, Steve, that's not a Far Left issue, and I never suggested it was. But there are plenty of loony left ideas out there, just as there are plenty of loony right ideas out there. We just witnessed one such demonstration of the loony right in what Rand Paul said and did on the floor of the Senate, only to be later criticized by staunch conservatives McCain and Graham.

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